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Syracuse Police Chief set to retire

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Syracuse Police Chief set to retire
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The man at the top of the Syracuse Police Department has formally stepped aside. Our Bill Carey has more on the retirement of Gary Miguel.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- After entering the upper command in 2001, Gary Miguel would take the number two job in the city police department in 2004. No one on that August day foresaw the scandal coming just months away.

An accident with Chief Steve Thompson charged with DWI. A new shake up by the mayor. Thompson was out and Gary Miguel would be chief.

“I appreciate the opportunity that the Mayor has given me to be Chief of Police, there's no smiles on my face,” said Miguel.


Fast forward nearly five years. With Driscoll preparing to leave office, Gary Miguel has retired.

“The reality is, I've been a Syracuse cop my whole life. Since I was a kid. And, sure, there's difficulty in regards to walking out the door, but I also believe that the time is right,” said Gary Miguel, former Syracuse Police Chief.

Miguel has been on the job for more than 30 years. Most of the time, he says proudly, on the street. His only painful period came early on. Just married and working nights and weekends, he was offered an office position that would allow him to spend more time with his spouse. He took it.

Miguel held on to that desk job for a few months until he had another talk with his new wife. She said she realized just how miserable his new job had been. That it was time for him to go back on the street and on the street, as a patrolman or detective, he stayed.

“I used to feel like, when I was driving to work, you know, you're coming in to really do something important. That was neat. It was a neat feeling to have that feeling for so many years,” said Miguel.

Miguel will not leave alone. Two of his deputies, First Deputy Chief Mike Heenan and Deputy Chief Mike Kerwin, are also retiring. Two other members of the command team have new jobs.

Incoming mayor Stephanie Miner has named Deputy Chief Dave Barrette as First Deputy and Deputy Chief Frank Fowler will take Miguel's job.

“Excellent choice. Excellent choice. He's a man of tremendous integrity. He's out there all the time. He's involved with the community,” said Miguel.

Miguel departs hoping he has left a better department behind and ready now, after three decades, to finally put the pressures of round the clock policing behind, and relax.

“My gun's gone. My badge is gone and my pager's gone. Good luck finding me,” said Miguel.

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