After 23 years with the Cleveland Police Department, and 17 as chief, John Foster is set to retire in December.
Foster turned in his letter of retirement to the Cleveland City Council at their meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working for the City of Cleveland,” Foster said during the meeting. “I can’t think of a better employer anywhere than right here.”
After the meeting, Foster said he had been thinking about retiring since January.
“I considered everything that was going on with the city at the time and decided I would hold off,” Foster said. “I was going to do this about last March and I decided I would stay a little longer.”
He said that when he came to Cleveland 23 years ago, he was looking for a place to call home as a working man and a police officer, and he found it.
“I found a group of people that were remarkable to work for,” Foster said. “Absolutely remarkable. The whole council, mayors that I’ve worked it’s been wonderful. But it comes a time when you know it’s time to go home and cut the grass, and I’m ready to go home and find out what it’s like to cut the grass on Wednesday instead of Saturday or Sunday. It’s been good, it’s been fun.”
Foster worked with the department for six years before becoming the police chief in 2003.
“I would’ve stayed here as an officer and just worked the road. Me becoming chief, that was just a bonus; It had nothing to do with whether I would’ve stayed or not, because it has nothing to do with the quality of people that I’ve worked for and the quality of our citizens. It’s been good.”
After retirement, Foster said he doesn’t have any plans for the first month.
“I’m going to turn the cell phone off so nobody can call me. Then I’ll re-evaluate after that," Foster said. "I have a woodshop at my house and I plan on spending some time in the woodshop and just relaxing, not being under any pressure.”
As for what made him say now is the time to retire, Foster said there wasn’t anything specific, but cited some recent health issues.
“I’ve had some health issues lately," Foster said. "Had one real bad scare (on Sept. 2) and that just made me realize I needed some time for me just to be at home and take it easy and do what I want to do for a while.”
His last day will be Dec. 28. The council accepted his letter of retirement.