Heinz von Eckartsberg always knew police work was his calling.

“That was definitely what I wanted to do,” said the chief of the Dublin Police Department.

So in February 1983 at the age of 25, von Eckartsberg began his career with Dublin’s police department – the first and only place he applied to work, after hearing from many people the area was going to grow.

Thirty-six years and three promotions later, von Eckartsberg is retiring to serve as assistant superintendent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

His last day with Dublin will be Friday, March 22. A public retirement celebration for von Eckartsberg will be held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. April 4 in the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road.

Although von Eckartsberg originally was planning to leave the city at the beginning of next year, he said he also knew he didn’t want to stop working completely.

When he was asked to consider an opportunity with BCI, “it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” he said.

The role, he said, will give him a new challenge and an opportunity to work with a new group of people while still contributing to law enforcement in Ohio.

Von Eckartsberg has made preparations to ensure the department will continue to function without him. Part of that included the promotion of Deputy Chief Justin Paez, who will become interim chief.

During his career with Dublin, von Eckartsberg received three promotions.

He became sergeant in 1985, lieutenant in 1997 and chief in 2011.

One of the things he said he most enjoyed was patrolling and working on city streets as sergeant. That type of work, he said, brought immediate gratification from helping people.

“No two days are the same,” he said.

Von Eckartsberg attributed his accomplishments during his tenure as chief to the efforts of the whole department rather than himself alone.

One of the biggest accomplishments the department has had, von Eckartsberg said, is the consistent decline in crime during his time here.

He said he attributed the trend to the department’s staff understanding crime reduction is the department’s primary goal. Monthly reviews help instill that focus, he said.

Although he still will call Dublin home, von Eckartsberg admitted the city will feel different once he’s not at the police department. The department, he said, is a place he probably spends more time at than his home, and he’ll miss his coworkers.

“These people are definitely family,” he said.

Von Eckartsberg and his leadership are going to be greatly missed at the city,” said Dana McDaniel, Dublin’s city manager.

“He is a great example of how to be a leader in your profession and how to lead others in public service,” McDaniel said.

“He has made Dublin one of the safest communities in the country and built one of the best police agencies anywhere – what a great legacy.”

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah