OKLAHOMA CITY – Bill Citty has announced his plan to retire as the chief of police for Oklahoma City, officials confirm.
Citty’s announcement was made Thursday morning at the Oklahoma City Police Headquarters. His retirement will be effective May 2, 2019.
“The men and women in this department, sworn and non-sworn, have inspired me everyday with their ability to be tough but also compassionate, calm during chaos and patient with persons in crisis,” he stated in his letter to City Manager Craig Freeman.
“I’m disappointed to see the chief leave. The chief’s done a great job for the city. He’s been a leader for us in a lot of different ways in reaching out in the community, a lot of the things he’s talked about with criminal justice reform that he’s instituted within the department,” Freeman said. ” We just want to make sure we have the ability to continue that leadership going forward, and I’m confident we’ll find someone who can do that.”
Citty became Oklahoma City’s 48th chief of police on October 24, 2003. He began his career with the department in 1977, working in several different units including Narcotics and Homicide.
The planned departure comes months after an ethics complaint accusing the police chief of retaliating against four deputy chiefs regarding overtime pay. At the time, the Oklahoma City FOP called for the chief’s suspension amid an ongoing investigation.
The city auditor reported in December that the allegations “were unsubstantiated.” Citty said the recent complaint had the least to do with his decision to retire in May, as opposed to January 2020.
“It’s just the right time for me, for the department and for the city. Nothing negative about it,” he said. “There’s constant issues that are out there and, you know, the FOP has had issues with me for quite some time. I don’t think they dislike me. I don’t think they’re not supportive of me in most cases, but there have been disagreements.”
Citty went on to say “Conflicts happen daily. We’re in the conflict business, whether it’s in the community or whether it’s internally. You have as many employees as we have an extremely, very tough job to do.”
When asked about Citty’s proudest moments during his four decade long career, he listed three specific examples. One was the new police headquarters building, and another was his goal of revamping the department’s criminal intel unit. Part of the initiative included the hiring of more analysts.
“That may sound like an easy thing to do, but that’s also a cultural change, because our intelligence unit wasn’t really doing intelligence and that took about five years to do,” he said. “I think we have one of the best, best intelligence units. We work well with the FBI.”
It was an emotional moment during the press conference when Citty spoke of the police department personnel.
“If you ask me the things that have impacted me the most, it’s one of those things I get emotional about,” he said. “The things that impact me the most and I’m most proud of, I see a lot of faces of officers that have worked a full career that were in crisis at one time. Some type of momentary mental health crisis or alcoholism, you know? They just reflect society. The officers do. They have some of the same personal issues.”
On Thursday morning, the Oklahoma City FOP released this statement:
“As the longest-serving police chief for Oklahoma City, we appreciate Chief Citty’s commitment to our community and department. Chief Citty built bridges throughout the city, promoted diversity and inclusion within the ranks and maintained the public’s trust during challenging times for police. We wish him the best in his upcoming retirement and look forward to the next chapter for the Oklahoma City Police Department.”