An estimated crowd of about 100 people attended a retirement luncheon Oct. 10 at the Douglas Visitors Center for Douglas Police Chief Alberto Melis who is retiring this Friday following five years in Douglas and 40 years in law enforcement.
The Chief said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Douglas and working with the men and women of the Douglas Police Department.
“You have to enjoy what you do,” he said. “This is a great city; great town and I love the people. I intend to come back and visit.”
The Chief said he has really enjoyed being chief of such a fine department and feels he is leaving it in very good hands with Lieutenant Kraig Fullen acting as interim chief until a permanent replacement is found.
“If they (the city council) choose from within they can’t go wrong,” Chief Melis said. “It will be in good hands for the interim period and I have ultimate faith in Carlos De la Torre that he will make the right choice for the city.”
When asked what he was going to miss most about the Douglas the Chief wasted little time in replying “the people.”
“I will (also) miss the men and women of this department more than any department I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “It’s been a great five years.”
At last weeks luncheon various members from different law enforcement agencies around Douglas and Cochise County were on hand to honor Chief Melis and present him with some kind of token of appreciation.
City Manager De la Torre thanked the chief for his service and commitment to the citizens of Douglas.
“He allowed the people in the Douglas Police Department the opportunity to do their jobs but most importantly he trusted them,” De la Torre said. “You and your wife have blended very well into the community. … Douglas is and will always be your home.”
Lieutenant Fullen said in his remarks that change is the probably most evil word especially in law enforcement.
“One of the most anxious moments in an officers life is when there’s a change at the top and that’s the chief,” Fullen said. “Five years ago we went through that experience. … I was anxious when he came in … but he quickly put my mind at ease and the rest of the agencies mind at ease.”
Lieutenant Hugo Valenzuela also thanked the Chief for his support.
“I want to thank you for your leadership, your dedication to service and your mentorship,” Valenzuela said.
Scott Brown, deputy special agent in charge for the Department of Homeland Security in Phoenix, was in Douglas for the event. Brown used to work with Chief Melis and members of the DPD when he was assigned to Douglas.
“I wanted to thank the chief from the Cochise County law enforcement community,” he said.
Jose Montano, representing the Douglas Border Patrol also thanked Chief Melis for his support the past five years and congratulated him on his upcoming retirement.
Matt Tank the acting supervisor agent in charge for the Sierra Vista office of the FBI, echoed the words of the other law enforcement agencies thanking Chief Melis for his service in working with the FBI and also congratulating him on his retirement.
Douglas’ Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. said Chief Melis has done a great job for the City of Douglas.
“He has been a fine representative and helped the department become more active and play a more positive role in the community,” he said. “There will be some big shoes to fill. He will truly be missed.”