Johnson City Police Chief John Lowry said Tuesday he’ll end his law enforcement career in May after more than 39 years with the city.
“I’ve decided it’s time to hang up my guns and go to the house,” he said, announcing the decision in a news conference at City Hall. “My career with the Johnson City Police Department will end in May.”
He’s worked at the department 34 years, having served as chief since 2003. But his career with the city began nearly 40 years ago when he started working for the rescue squad.
Lowry said he hopes the department will continue to move forward after his departure.
“I started as chief with a great department. It’s an even better department. Our department is one of the premier law enforcement departments across the state.”
Lowry said he’s certain the high quality of employees in the department will continue to maintain the JCPD’s reputation.
He said running the department is a team effort and there is a quality team in place to continue the work.
“I’ve told them I’m leaving it hear and I don’t expect it to go down, I expect it to go to the next step,” he said.
A key to that will be finding quality officers and keeping them. Lowry said the department has long been a stepping stone for officers to go to the FBI, TBI, DEA and other federal agencies.
Under Lowry’s leadership, including his time in other command positions, the department has attained and retained accreditation and he played a key role in transitioning from a public safety program to a traditional police department.
“The main thing I’m proud of is the people we’ve brought to the police department. We’ve always tried to hire what I call top shelf,” he said.
City Manager Pete Peterson, who was unavailable for Lowry’s press conference, in a prepared statement called the chief “a loyal and dedicated employee.” Peterson praised Lowry’s accomplishments and said he leaves the city with “a great police department.”
Lowry said the thing he’ll miss most will be the people he works with.
“I’ve had a great career and feel I have been very fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to lead an outstanding group of men and women with the JCPD. I believe I am leaving this organization better than it was, but that is mainly due to the hard work and dedication of the great people who work for it,” Lowry said.
As for what he’ll do after he retires, Lowry said he has no concrete plans except to do a lot of fishing.