Lee’s Summit Police Chief Joe Piccinini was at a food restaurant’s drive-thru window Oct. 31 when news of his pending retirement became public.
Halloween or not, the news was no trick, just a treat from Piccinini to himself and his family.
After nearly three decades with the Lee’s Summit Police Department, Piccinini will retire, effective Jan. 17. He made the decision after consulting with his family, which includes his two children, his girlfriend and her five children.
“ We felt like now is a real good time for us and for what we’re doing as a family,” he said.
Piccinini was named acting police chief on Nov. 1, 2007, and officially became the chief the following January. He began his career as a probationary police officer in 1983 and rapidly moved up.
Having not recorded a homicide in Lee’s Summit in nearly three years, Piccinini cited a low crime rate as one of his lasting legacies. In large part, he credits community policing, an approach
that emphasizes relationship-building and problem-solving through personal interaction between the police officer and the citizen.
“We are probably looking at the lowest crime rate we have seen in the last five years,” he said. “I think that is the thing I am probably the most proud of.”
Piccinini has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri. In 2009, he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
“Chief Piccinini has given this community and our organization his very best,” Lee’s Summit City Manager Stephen Arbo said in a statement.
“He is highly regarded professionally by his peers locally and regionally and is seen as a person of integrity, compassion, equity and fairness. He is one of those rare leaders that can think strategically and empower others to support the mission of the organization. When I hired him, his mission was pretty simple…to reduce crime and make the community a safe place. I have enjoyed seeing him reach this goal.”
As far as future endeavors go, Piccinini said he has no clue what’s in store, but as with most retired folks, his golf game will get plenty of work.
“In the hobby area, there is the usual – golf – and I’ve recently ... developed quite a fondness for fly-fishing,” Piccinini said. “Outside of that, I’m pretty excited – along with my family – to see what the future holds for me.”