LaSalle Police Chief to Retire Early Next Year

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One of the longest serving police chiefs in Canada is retiring — in the town of LaSalle.

LaSalle Police Chief John Leontowicz handed in his notice of retirement during the June 22 police services board meeting.

Leontowicz has 45 years of policing and has headed the town's police department for 21 years.

He will retire in January 2021.

Leontowicz says it is time to hang up the cuffs.

"I have been doing this for quite some time and every morning, I look at my birth certificate and it doesn't lie to me. I think after 45 years which I have enjoyed thoroughly, it is time to get some of these younger guys and gals into a leadership role," he says.

Leontowicz became a police officer in 1976 with the RCMP working as a patrol officer, drug enforcement and organized crime.

He believes the biggest change is the people they serve.

"In my 45 years if there is one thing that stands out, that is the people. The people are more involved with police today," says Leontowicz.

During his time in uniform, he was also the recipient of the Order of Merit, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and RCMP Exemplary medal.

LaSalle remains the only municipality in Essex County with its own police department and Chief Leontowicz believes that will continue.

"I don't see it changing, if there was such a suggestion made, I think the people would have something to say about that," he adds.

The police services board will soon begin a search for his replacement.