FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After a long career in law enforcement Fort Wayne Public Safety Director Rusty York has retired. The city announced early last month that he would retire December 1.
York has spent about 40 years working in public safety. He started as a patrolman for the Fort Wayne Police Department in 1975 and retired 22 years later as Captain of Detectives.
“Back in ’97 I knew what the Police Chief’s job entailed and I knew…I was pretty certain I didn’t want to do that,” he said.
He took a job in the Fort Wayne Community Schools Transportation division for two and a half years before having a change of heart. He was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I really missed being a police officer and if it was in the Chief’s capacity I was up for that,” said York.
York was sworn in as Fort Wayne Police Chief in 2000. He was later appointed Fort Wayne Public Safety Director by Mayor Tom Henry in January 2014. That role was reinstated after 13 years.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I would do it again all over if I could,” he said.
Now, York is moving in a new direction. He’ll spend the coming days working on lesson plans for a public safety course that he will teach at IPFW in the Spring. Hopefully, helping to make way for more law enforcement officers in the community.
“To make a positive change people have to get involved and take a look at public safety as a career option,” said York.
York said over the last couple of years, he’s served as a mentor for leaders in public safety, but now it’s time let them take over.
“There was a time we had a very young Fire Command and Police command that a mentor worked out very well,” said York. “Now I’m confident that everybody will be able to march on and not skip a beat.”
City Council voted to eliminate the Public Safety Director position at a budget meeting last month. The salary for that position is about $160,000, which could likely be used to put more officers on the streets.
York said he has planned on retiring over the last year.