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RACINE, WI – After serving on the Racine Police Department for 36 years, Chief Art Howell announced that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Over the years, Howell worked his way up the ranks. He started his career in 1984 as a patrol officer. Then, he held positions as a gang unit officer, traffic investigator, detective, public information officer, detective lieutenant, administrative captain, deputy chief of support services, and deputy chief of investigations. In 2012, he was appointed to the chief.

Howell’s last day on the job is slated for Dec. 31, 2020.

His letter to the Racine Police and Fire Commission President Keith Rogers expressed his gratitude.

“For your steady guidance, wisdom, invaluable support, and confidence placed in my leadership during the past eight years, I am forever grateful. It was truly an honor to serve the citizens of Racine under your leadership, and it remains an honor to lead the outstanding men and women who serve our community as peace-keepers.”

Over the years, Howell expanded the Community Oriented Police program. During Howell’s tenure, he also saw violent crime drop to 50-year lows.

Major projects introduced as chief:

  • With the support of the Racine Community Foundation, Carlsen Roofing, Carpetland and the Styberg Foundation, a new expansion (conference) was added to the Anthony Lane COP House in 2015. With additional support from all city departments and area stakeholders, the high crime area formally known as Jacato Drive was transformed into the new Anthony Lane community.
  • In an effort to reduce the historically high rate of burglaries in the City of Racine, the City of Racine, a focus on burglary reduction was introduced in 2012. From 2013 through 2019, local burglaries were reduced by 75 percent, reaching an all-time (55-year) low in 2019.

To prepare for his departure, Howell plans to write a formal succession plan and submit to the Police and Fire Commission by Sept. 30.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.