Crystal Police Chief John Banick retired Thursday after more than three decades in law enforcement. The Crystal City Council proclaimed the day "John Banick Day."
Banick, a St. Paul native, is credited with introducing a crime prevention board during his tenure as chief. He also moved officers into a vacant storefront in the Crystal Shopping Center because he says his department should "police where the people are."
"It's really about safety and trying to keep people safe," Banick said, when asked about his biggest accomplishments on the job. "We hired two officers, assigned one to full-time traffic duty, and of course the canine thing is in the hopper yet,"Banick said.
Banick, who also served for 10 years as a canine officer in Maplewood, spearheaded an effort to establish a K-9 program in Crystal, which is expected to be up and running next year.
"I'm very sorry to see him go but very thankful for all he's done. He's done a great job for Crystal and I wish him well in his retirement," said Ann Norris, city manager of Crystal.
Banick doesn't plan to spend his retirement golfing or touring the country in an RV. Instead, he accepted a position in the loss prevention department of Wells Fargo.
Under Banick's leadership, the crime rate in Crystal dropped by almost five percent. Deputy Chief Stepanie Fealy is set to take over the top post. She is the first woman in the history of the Crystal Police Dpeartment to become chief.
"He's done his time in law enforcement, 31 years in our field is a long time," says Fealy.
Carissa Wyant, reporting
Thursday, August 02, 2012