Tom Jennings's last week as Chief of Waterloo Police - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tom Jennings's last week as Chief of Waterloo Police

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by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) After more than 35 years with the department, Waterloo Police Chief Tom Jennings is retiring. Jennings' last day is Friday, January 8th.

Jennings started with the police department in October 1974. Working for Waterloo Police was his first job after finishing up at what was then Hawkeye Tech.

He first applied to be an intern, but was told the department was looking to hire more young people.

"Got hired with plans to stay a couple years and go somewhere else, but the department was growing at the time, the community was growing and pretty soon had five years and why go someplace else because Waterloo has everything to offer I was looking for," said Chief Jennings.

Jennings worked in several areas of the police department before becoming chief ten years ago.

"I was fortunate I worked in the schools, I worked in investigations, I worked in narcotics. I was lucky about every five years I had a different assignment. It kept it interesting and kept it moving," he said.

He said through the years technology for officers and in squad cars has changed, but the main component of police work hasn't. That's dealing with people.

Jennings said he's glad there's more communications between the city and the community because the department can't protect the people alone.

He currently teaches at Hawkeye Community College, but he isn't sure what will happen after he's officially retired from the police department.

"I really haven't decided where that next phase is. We're gonna stay in the community, gonna stay active. Looking forward to that next phase whether it be teaching or other opportunities come knocking," said Chief Jennings.

He says he's appreciated support from the community throughout his years of service, including back in 2004 when he suffered a heart attack.

There's a farewell reception for Jennings on Thursday, January 7 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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