Gilbert Police Chief John Brewer wants to walk away from his job before he’s dragged or carried off. Brewer announced Thursday he is retiring in December, bringing to an end more than three decades in law enforcement.
He has been the town’s top cop for seven years, presiding over an agency with 300 employees, sworn and civilian, and an annual budget of close to $39 million. Previously, he served 25 years with Mesa’s force.
"Police officers, our candles burn brighter and faster," said Brewer, whose last day will be Dec. 16. "I thought, perhaps there’s some other things I’d like to experience after law enforcement.
"One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is leave on a high. I didn’t want to get to the point where it was time for me to leave."
When he took over for Fred Dees in June 1998, Brewer said he made it a priority to raise Gilbert’s standing in the law enforcement community.
"Chief Brewer really is the architect of the modern Gilbert Police Department," Mayor Steve Berman said.
During Brewer’s tenure, Gilbert completed the Public Safety Complex, providing the department a permanent home. Also, Brewer made his agency’s marked police vehicles among the first in the Valley to adopt a black-and-white color scheme.
In addition, Brewer is president of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and has served on the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Board.
City Manager George Pettit said it is unlikely a new chief will be named by December, but an acting chief has yet to be determined.
Brewer’s retirement means three East Valley police departments are looking for leaders. Mesa’s Dennis Donna said last week that he will step down Dec. 31, and Apache Junction expects to wrap up its search for a new chief by early next year.
John Brewer Age: 57
Background: Born and raised in Scottsdale, lives in Mesa
Experience: Twenty-five years with Mesa Police Department, reached rank of commander; seven years as Gilbert police chief
Family: Married, with five children and four grandchildren
Annual salary: $128,000