The city paid tribute to Lou Scanlon, its soon-to-be departed police chief, by proclaiming a day in his name.
The honor is typically bestowed on “executive employees or those have shown exemplary service to the city,” City Clerk Linda Hascup said.
Though the award may be unexceptional the recipient is not, according to the City Council. Mayor Casey Tanaka said this week that he was none too pleased about giving the award to Scanlon.
“This is the kind of proclamation I don’t like – saying goodbye to someone you don’t want to say goodbye to,” he said at the ceremony Tuesday.
Scanlon, who was once with the San Diego Police Department, is “no ordinary police chief, Tanaka added. “He brought big-city experience to our small town.”
Tanaka also noted the chief’s commitment to the community, his participation in local activities, including the annual Christmas parade, and his outreach to the schools.
Scanlon is the city’s 24th chief. He started in April 2007, after a 33-year career with the SDPD.
He made lasting contributions to the department and the city, officials said, including:
- Establishing a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), to bring in clinicians to assist officers in cases involving mental illness.
- Contending with the high-profile Zahau-Shacknai and Navy pilot murder investigations in 2011-12, with the help of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
- Overseeing the construction of a new animal care facility.
- Supervising the department as the city saw a 13-percent reduction in property crimes.
Tanaka also noted how Scanlon’s “sense of humor and friendly approachable personality have contributed to his success, as evidenced by the plethora of FOL (Friends of Lou) stickers sported by colleagues, friends and members of the city staff.”
In what might be seen as another sign of his commitment to the city, Scanlon has agreed to stay on until a replacement is found, which is expected to be at the end of April.
For his part Scanlon gave credit for his success to the officers who served under him and his wife Pam. “She keeps me grounded,” he said.
With that the crowd at the meeting rose to give its police chief one last tribute on he job – a standing ovation.