ELKHART — Assistant Police Chief Tim Balyeat is retiring by the end of January after 26 years of service to the Elkhart Police Department.
“Sometimes when you’ve gone as far as you can go, you know it’s time,” he said.
Balyeat, 55, was appointed assistant chief of the police department in January of 2008.
He said he thinks that the police department’s relationship with the city and the community has been stronger in the last few years, adding that he thinks he is leaving the department in better shape than when he started.
“For the first time in many years this staff has been on solid ground emotionally and physically.”
Despite cuts to their budget in the last few years, the staff at the police department has been working closely with the city in becoming more proactive, Balyeat said.
“The general sentiment is we’re working together,” he said. “Budgets are shrinking, and we are being entrusted to do more with less, to be more efficient and to be more productive. And we have been.”
Balyeat said the community has shown more support toward the department than ever before as well. He said not only has the department seen more feedback, but they’ve also seen many from the community who have been willing to give.
“It’s amazing to see —and you can gauge how well the interaction is with the community — when we do fundraisers, and they are just overwhelmingly supportive of us,” he said.
Police Chief Dale Pflibsen said the police department will be working with the city to find a replacement for the assistant chief position.
“We’re losing a valuable asset to our department,” he said.
He said he expects to find a new assistant chief in a timely manner.
“The person must have integrity, honesty and good moral values,” he said. “The public puts their trust and their faith in these officers to do the same thing, to support the community and be there for them.”
Balyeat said he is moving to Tampa, Fla., where he bought a house.
“I’ll take some time off and reassess what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m trying not to look back and I’m trying to focus on moving forward. It’s all I can hope for.”