By Joe Reavis
The overriding message at a reception for recently retired Wylie Police Chief John Duscio is that he genuinely cares about other people, a trait that makes him a great leader and benefitted the department over the past eight years.
Duscio, 54, officially retired from the city on June 30. New police chief will be Anthony Henderson, recently named assistant chief, after he completes the FBI Academy this month. Acting as interim police chief is Jeff Butters, who was chief until 2008.
The retiring chief has been off duty since January for health reasons and announced in June his plans to step down from the post. His retirement ends a 28-year career in law enforcement.
“I’m ready to go be me and have some fun,” Duscio said. “It’s a different feeling when you become a civilian.”
The retirement reception was held Friday afternoon at Wylie Municipal Court, 2000 N. Hwy. 78 and included a room full of officers, city officials and friends.
“It’s going to be a tough day for the department,” Henderson said. “We are very happy for him, but it is sad for us.”
Henderson recalled the day in 2007 when Chief Butters called in several officers to a meeting to ask them if he should recommend a replacement he knew, Duscio, or if he should conduct a wide-ranging search for a new chief.
“Little did we know how great an impact you would make on the department. You have taken this department and helped it grow and get better,” Henderson said.
The new chief explained that Duscio stressed treating people as you would want to be treated, and worked to make Wylie officers better people through example and programs.
“I can never thank you enough for what you’ve done for these men and women,” the new chief said.
Mayor Eric Hogue continued the message, and pointed out, “The thing that is neat about John is that when you have some challenge in your life, he is there.”
Hogue presented Duscio with a framed letter from U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson thanking the chief for his dedication to a career in law enforcement, and with a Texas flag from State Rep. Jody Laubenberg that flew over the state capitol.
City Manager Mindy Manson described the chief as a mentor, counselor and the leader the police department needed, and pointed out that Duscio’s influence was felt throughout city government.
“He has impacted the entire city with what a leader is,” Manson said. “You’ve left the department in remarkable shape.”
Several officers took the opportunity to thank Duscio for how he helped them professionally and personally, and the department presented the chief with gifts of his framed uniform shirt with insignia and his service sidearm.
Originally from California, Duscio began his career in 1987 as an officer with Santa Clara County Department of Corrections, joined the San Jose Police Department in the airport division in 1990, and served the city of Los Gatos Police Department from 1993-95.
The chief moved to Texas in 1996 and took a position with McKinney Police Department with which he would serve 11 years.
Duscio started as a patrol officer in McKinney, promoted to sergeant in 2000, made lieutenant in 2002 and promoted to captain in 2004. Duties there included school resource officer, hostage negotiations, internal affairs, watch commander, budget preparation and support services.
He was hired by Wylie in 2007 as assistant police chief and moved up to the top post in 2008 when Butters transitioned to assistant city manager.
“You guys are the best, hands down,” Duscio told officers attending the reception. “I’m honored to have been part of this department.”
The chief said that he plans to spend time with his wife, Dee Dee, getting adjusted to retirement, and after an initial settling in period, he may teach at a police academy part-time.