Tuesday was Mike Strope's last day as Bryan's full-time police chief.
It has been a busy three-and-a-half years for Strope heading up this department. Previously, he served as College Station's chief.
He's leaving the force to do consulting work, as well as to spend more time with his family, though he will stay on in a part time role for the next few months.
With violent crime becoming more and more of a reality in parts of the city, Strope has made a consistent effort to improve his force's capabilities, and improve their relationships with the community. In fact, as the interim chief back in 2003, he laid out around 20 goals for improvement in the department, goals he says have all been accomplished in his time.
"It's been the best of times and the worst of times, but overall, it's really been a fun time," Strope said.
With violent crime in the city becoming a prominent issue, Strope made it a point with his department to get a handle on the problem. Last year, he laid out his "E-Strategy" of enforcement, education, engagement and engenderment, all with the goal of reducing violent crime by 25 percent in the next five years. He says in the first year of the strategy, they've reached the expected goals.
"As I mentioned a year ago when we talked to the community and various town hall meetings, I was concerned about violent crime," he said. "It's been with the city for several years. If we, as a community, including the police department, elected officials, the churches, stand up and say we've had enough and are going to do something about it, you'll see a gradual decline in violent crime."
In the near future, the department's new home will begin to rise. The Justice Center is coming closer to approval, though the scale of the project has been reduce. Though it's not his first choice, Strope says what his department will be receiving is a marked improvement.
"I'd certainly have liked to at least have had the foundation of the new justice center poured before my final fulltime day," he said, "but I'll be around part-time, and I'm going to watch the justice center carefully, and still be there asking for the needs of members of the Bryan Police Department."
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