La Plata says farewell to Cap­tain Brooks

Stal­wart re­tires from La Plata Po­lice Dept., com­mu­nity sad­dened

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com

It was a sad day in La Plata on Tues­day as the town coun­cil, lo­cal res­i­dents and the La Plata Po­lice De­part­ment bid farewell to Capt. Wil­liam “Bill” Brooks, 63, who has been serv­ing the town’s cit­i­zens since Oc- to­ber 1993.

Brooks de­cided to retire af­ter 44 years of serv­ing in the field of law en­force­ment. He an­nounced his re­tire­ment as com­man­der of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions di­vi­sion in 2016. Dur­ing the town coun­cil busi­ness meet­ing, Brooks was rec- og­nized by the coun­cil and staff with a town seal, show­ing ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his kind­hearted ef­forts in the La Plata com­mu­nity.

“It’s a bit­ter­sweet thing … It’s time to go, but I love my job,” Brooks said.

He was given the honor of read­ing the po­lice de­part­ment’s monthly re­port for the last time Tues­day. Brooks con­cluded by thank­ing the town for al­low­ing him to serve. It was a mo­ment that brought Brooks as well as au­di­ence mem- bers to tears.

“I hope that the cit­i­zens un­der­stand that our po­lice de­part­ment is very pro­fes­sional. I love [La Plata Po­lice Chief Carl Schin­ner] to death and he’s very good for this de­part­ment and for the town. I may be gone but it

doesn’t weaken what the de­part­ment has. There are lots and lots of ex­pe­ri­ence and ca­pa­bil­i­ties here,” Brooks said.

Dur­ing his time with the LPPD, Brooks served as the cus­to­dian of records, man­aged the de­part­ment’s records man­age­ment sys­tem and served as the town’s li­ai­son to the La Plata Crime Watch Coun­cil. He has won nu­mer­ous awards in­clud­ing Of­fi­cer of the Year in 1998 for his work with Crime Watch, and is listed in Who’s Who Hon­ors.

Brooks was born in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and grew up in Clin­ton. He is cur­rently a Charles County res­i­dent and has served on the LPPD for the last 23 years. Prior to work­ing for the La Plata Po­lice De­part­ment, Brooks be­gan his law en­force­ment ca­reer with the Prince George’s County Po­lice De­part- ment as a cadet in 1972 and served for 21 years.

“I’ve watched this de­part­ment grow,” Brooks said. “There were four of- fi­cers when I started and there are 18 now. I re­mem­ber be­ing in a small of­fice in the old Town Hall build­ing. We’ve moved, we’ve grown and now we’ve even out- grown the build­ing we are cur­rently in. It’s been a fun ride watch­ing all of this hap­pen. It’s been great see­ing these guys, that we’ve hired, ma­ture into lieu­tenants.”

Schin­ner said it’s tough watch­ing 44 years of law en­force­ment ex­pe­ri­ence walk out the door. He said Brooks’ coun­sel, in­ter­ac­tion with the citi- zens and wholis­tic so­lu­tions to prob­lems will also be missed by the de­part­ment.

“He’s been the heart and soul of the de­part- ment for such a long time. The de­part­ment looks up to him ... He will be very tough to re­place,” Schin­ner said.

“He’s a great leader and great men­tor and los­ing him means we’re los­ing a wealth of knowl­edge that is go­ing to take a while to re­place,” said Lt. Michael Payne. “When I started work­ing with the LPPD I was a young buck who never worked one day on the road and I took to him for his ex­pe­ri­ence. He men­tored me through and made me what I am to­day. He was like my ‘work fa­ther’ and he’s go­ing to be missed.”

Not only did the coun­cil rec­og­nize Brooks’ many years of ded­i­cated ser­vice to the Town of La Plata, but they also ac­knowl­edged his friendly per­son­al­ity and the man­ner in which he per- formed his du­ties.

“La Plata is a bet­ter place be­cause of his work ethic and hard work,” said Coun­cil­man Lynn Gil­roy. “He’s a fine gen­tle­man and ded­i­cated po­lice of­fi­cer so we’re go­ing to miss him. We know that he’s go­ing to men­tor a lot of our of­fi­cers now and we wish him all of the best.”

Brooks and his wife plan to go RVing around the coun­try dur­ing his re­tire­ment and they will con­tinue to be in­volved in the Good Sam Club, an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion of RV driv­ers. Although re­tired, he is still look­ing for ward to see­ing the po­lice de­par tment ex­pand and con­tinue to be suc­cess­ful dur­ing his ab­sence.

“I hope the town has good mem­o­ries of me,” Brooks said.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Capt. Wil­liam “Bill” Brooks, La Plata Po­lice De­part­ment, at the town coun­cil busi­ness meet­ing on Feb. 28.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

The La Plata Town Coun­cil rec­og­nized Capt. Wil­liam “Bill” Brooks of the La Plata Po­lice De­part­ment with a town seal on Feb. 28.

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