Friday, July 10, 2020

Racine Police Chief Art Howell to retire at year's end

From The Journal

RACINE — After 36 years with the Racine Police Department and eight years as Chief, Art Howell announced he plans to retire at the end of the year.
“It is hard to overstate the importance of Art Howell’s contributions to Racine and the Police Department. His leadership within the community has been transformative,” Racine Mayor Cory Mason stated in an email. “He has been a trusted advisor to me as Mayor and I consider him a dear friend. There will eventually be a new Chief of Police, but there will never be another Chief Howell.”
During Howell’s time with the force, the City of Racine has seen a significant drop in violent crime: During a recent presentation with the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Reform, Howell showed that the city in 2019 had the lowest violent crime rate in 55 years. He’s also credited with the continued growth of community policing and cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Racine County.
But Howell’s tenure has had its share of challenges, including: the killing by officers of Donte Shannon, a young Black man; a study showing low morale on the department; and the slaying of Officer John Hetland last year.
In a letter to the Police and Fire Commission, Howell stated that his retirement would be effective Dec. 31 unless a successor is found sooner. Howell said his goals in the meantime include working to restore of the Thelma Orr COP House, upgrade the West Sixth Street COP House and completion of the COP Playbook. Howell also plans to continue working with the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Reform.

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