BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — After more than 35 years of service with the Maumee Police Division, Chief Dave Tullis is retiring from duty.
His last day of service is Tuesday, May 18.
“I am making the announcement now because it takes a while to make the transition to new leadership and I want to make sure that when I leave, there are no gaps – there is just a smooth transition,” he said.
Over the next three months, Tullis is not only preparing to hand off the department to a chief but he will also work on ensuring that the new body cameras are properly implemented.
“I am going to be on overdrive these next three months,” he said.
Maumee City Council accepted his retirement notice at the February 15 meeting.
Tullis took over the duties of Maumee police chief in February 2019, replacing former Chief Jim MacDonald, who retired in late 2018. Tullis also served as the interim chief for several months before being officially named to the position.
“I care about the officers that I work with and I told them that I would always be there for them,” he said.
His main areas of focus have been on officer wellness, leadership training and community policing.
“This is a tough job. It’s a hard job in a lot of different ways with the hours that we work and some of the things that we see,” he said.
Tullis implemented the victim services program, which aids in communicating with victims of crimes. He is also a big proponent of police training and developing staff for leadership positions within the department.
“The only way that policework can remain professional is if you have good leadership,” Tullis said.
He is an advocate for community policing and is pleased that the Maumee division is connected to the community in many ways, especially in the schools through Safety City, the D.A.R.E. program and by having school resource officers on staff at both Gateway Middle School and Maumee High School.
Tullis acknowledges that 2020 came with significant challenges, especially from intense public scrutiny of the profession and calls to defund the police as well as the coronavirus outbreak.
“I am proud to say that our officers still approached their work every day with the same passion and focus as always, and there was no backing off from the proactive or self-initiated policing that keeps officers engaged with the citizens that they serve,” he said.
Tullis joined the Maumee department in 1985 and served in several positions, including as patrol officer and detective. In 1990, he was promoted to the position of sergeant and in 2014, he became a lieutenant. He has extensive police experience and is credited with developing a field-training program for dispatchers and the Citizens Police Academy. He also founded the Maumee Domestic Violence Task Force and he helped develop the senior outreach program.
He has received numerous letters of commendation and was nominated for Officer of the Year in 2003. He also received lifesaving awards in 1992 and 2000.
He holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice from The University of Toledo and he completed the Police Executive Leadership College and the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program, which are presented by the Ohio Law Enforcement Foundation.
Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said that advancing through the ranks ensures that the best people are named to top-level positions.
“He is an example of what can be done in a city where he started off as a patrol officer,” Carr said. “Every level of the job he did at some point and he did an excellent job at every level of his career. He is a very conscientious and community-oriented. In fact, he brought community policing to a whole new level during his time as chief.”
Tullis acknowledged that working more than 35 years in law enforcement – he has actually worked 36 years and three months – is a long career. His retirement comes from a decision in 2013 to opt into the Deferred Retirement Option Plan or DROP. That plan allowed him to accumulate a lump-sum retirement savings for a period of eight years. Failure to retire this year would result in a loss of that savings.
“I’m ready for retirement. I think that I have done my time and I can look back on my career and I am very happy with what I have done,” he said. “A lot of people have asked me if I would I do the same thing with my career again if I had the chance, and I always say that I would.”
While he wouldn’t go into detail, he said that he does have plans to work in some capacity in the private sector.
“To be truthful, at age 61, I am not quite ready to be done with work,” he said. “I am mentally ready to be done with police work, but there are other things that I want to do with my education and my experience.”
He also plans to spend time with his wife, Dawn, and their two children, Brooke and Erica, who were both accomplished in athletics and academics at Maumee High School and The University of Toledo.