Hilliard Headlines: Retiring police Chief Robert Fisher reflects on time in community
My first experience with the Hilliard community came in 2011 and is something I love to highlight with the new officers who have joined our team.
As I reflect on my memories at the Hilliard Division of Police in preparation of my coming retirement, I’d like to share that experience one more time.
Before joining HPD, I was invited to a community dedication of the World Trade Center flagpole that was installed in front of the Safety Services Building.
I expected to see only a few community members present at this Sunday morning ceremony as the passion for remembering the events of 9/11 had waned in the 10 years since 2001. To my surprise, a huge crowd had gathered for this event. The community members that attended were clearly focused on honoring the lives lost on 9/11 and upholding the pledge that “we will never forget.”
I immediately knew Hilliard was special, and it would be a remarkable place to serve.
Thinking back over my 31 years in public safety, many experiences come to mind – some that were incredibly challenging and others that were personally rewarding.
A few memories stand out. As a young police officer, I responded to many emergencies, including domestic violence incidents. At one point, I had the opportunity to change the life of a child that grew up in one of those troubled homes. I also served as a D.A.R.E. officer and opened my share of ketchup packets during lunchtime.
As my career progressed, I had more opportunities in mentorship and leadership. Eventually, that led me to Hilliard.
HPD has accomplished a great deal in the last nine years – thanks to the work of so many. We’ve worked to ensure we’re following the best practices in policing and enhanced the professionalism of the organization. I’m particularly proud of the School Safety Team, which was created in partnership with Hilliard City Schools. It’s model that has been looked at as a gold standard.
It would be impossible to reflect on my time in Hilliard without touching on the relationships formed with residents through our community programming.
I’m incredibly proud of our nationally renowned Citizen’s Police Academy and its alumni. Admittedly, some of my favorite moments have come from our annual Shop With A Cop event and speaking with local children about reverence at First Responders Park — a place that is incredibly special to me.
A rewarding career does not come without its challenges.
I never imagined that I would experience firsthand the loss of a fellow officer in the line of duty. This happened in 2016 when we lost Officer Sean Johnson. This was a tremendous blow to me and our HPD team. Sean was a fantastic officer and tremendous public servant. In our darkest hour, however, our community embraced HPD and we grieved together.
I’ve been fortunate during my time to share life’s journey with some fantastic people – too many to mention individually – but most important to me are the men and women that I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside: the team at HPD. I am so proud of the dedication to service that I see every day from these fine people. I firmly believe that the HPD team is the most dedicated, compassionate, and focused public servants.
I’m confident in a bright future for our community and our team at HPD. While my wife, Regina, and I begin the next chapter, we look forward to having more time to spend with family and friends and enjoying the gifts of life that God has given us.
I remain humbled for the opportunity to have served as your chief of police. I thank you for the gift of the relationships we’ve shared. This has certainly been one of the great joys of my life.
Robert Fisher is the chief of the Hilliard Division of Police. He will retire May 21.