policechiefretire

Photo from Stacey Ritchey

Penn Police Captain Joe Fischer is retiring at the end of June after 12 years in the position, and 46 years as a police officer. 

DPS said they are “well-into” the process of selecting a new Police Captain. 

Fischer began his police career in 1971, during the Vietnam war. He was deciding between joining the Philadelphia Police and enlisting with the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam war, but eventually chose the former after the Vietnam recruiter told him to wait on the results of the police department application.

“The recruiter must have had his quota for the month,” Fischer said jokingly.

After serving in the anti-crime unit and working as a detective for the Philadelphia Police, Fischer decided to continue his career in law enforcement through a job at Penn. 

Vice President Maureen Rush recalled that she was originally skeptical of hiring Fischer since he had never served on patrol for the Philadelphia Police. But Fischer proved his commitment — he was not only willing to serve on patrol, but also to work as a bike cop, Rush said. 

Fischer struggles to pick a single highlight of his time at Penn.

“I wish I could, but I really can’t, because there’s been so many good things that have happened,” he said.

After 12 years as Police Captain, Fischer has developed connections with the community that will be difficult to replace, his colleagues said. Penn Police Lieutenant Gary Williams, who serves under Fischer at Penn Police, suggested that even after Fischer leaves and is replaced with a new Captain, he should remain in close contact with the Penn community. 

“He has to hold onto his work cellphone for an additional year after he leaves,” Williams said jokingly, “because they’re going to be calling him.”

In terms of replacing Fischer, Williams said he thinks "temperament" is the most important selection criterion, because the future captain will have to interact with a range of people.

Penn Police Sergeant CaseyAnn Busch, who also serves under Fischer, added that approachability and the ability to be present in a variety of situations are also crucial to the selection of a new captain. 

While Fischer said he is sad to say goodbye to Penn — he was nearly moved to tears at the Commendation Ceremony — he plans to pursue his hobby of landscaping after he retires and moves to Florida.

“Forty-six years and seven days as a police officer and I can say it in one way: what a ride,” Fischer said at the Commendation Ceremony. 

After discussing the process to select Fischer's successor, Busch said that it finally sunk in that he was leaving.

"That's the first time it actually hit me," she said. "He's really leaving."

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