Hail to the chief

Lee's Summit JournalNovember 6, 2013 

It’s a rare thing in a town this size to have such public access and honesty from the police chief.

But for Joe Piccinini, he just doesn’t know any other way.

The man that went to high school in Lee’s Summit and later became his city’s chief of police has put in 30 years behind the badge.

And now he’s doing something most of us envy – retiring early enough to enjoy life.

Not that Piccinini didn’t enjoy life already, though.

The Lee’s Summit chief is a fixture in this community, appearing at events, running 5K races downtown, at city council meetings and in front of students at our schools – all the while with that familiar and contagious Joe Piccinini smile greeting many that crossed his path.

Chief Piccinini was one of the first city officials I met when I moved to Lee’s Summit, now nearly five years ago.

I could tell immediately that this town’s reputation for safety and overall positive demeanor toward the police wasn’t a fluke.

It was a matter of good leadership, from the commander on down.

This chief puts himself in the mix of things in this town, which is what good leaders do.

Good leaders empower their rank and file to make decisions that are in the best interest of their department and they see a vision for things beyond the here and now. Chief Piccinini has certainly done these things during his tenure in Lee’s Summit.

And while retirements are sometimes met with mixed messages and panic, in this case, I have to believe, our Lee’s Summit Police Department has plenty of leadership to take the reins while a national search is done.

And maybe our next chief is already right here wearing an LSPD uniform.

From a media standpoint, I can’t think of a better police chief to work with. In that regard, we will certainly miss Joe.

His cell number was out there for any media outlet and he made himself available for any question, any topic, any time. He understood the delicate balance of media coverage. That’s hard to find.

And Chief Piccinini indulged me over numerous hours of numerous lunches at a number of Lee’s Summit spots to discuss anything and everything.

Which, of course, made it all the tougher for me to sprint past him at a 5K run last year. My competitive side got the best of me. It wasn’t until after that stunt that I thought, "OK, Beaudoin, you just threw the gauntlet down against the chief of police…way to think it through…"

Joe Piccinini has been a good leader and, more importantly, a visible leader for our city. He’s set the right course for our current police department initiatives and for future ranks within the PD.

Enjoy some time off, chief. Maybe in 2014 we can finally get in that round of golf.

 

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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