RAYTOWN, Mo. -- After 43 years of service a local police chief is resigning, but he is leaving his post at a time of financial turmoil within the city he served.
Police Chief James Lynch has led the Raytown Police Department through the best of times and the worst of times.
Two years ago, he laid off a third of his staff due to a lack of city funding – and now he leaves as the state prepares to audit the city’s finances.
Chief Lynch said this about his retirement, “I have lived in Raytown for decades and have raised my children here. I am grateful to be part of the Raytown community and to the people of Raytown, I say thank you for allowing me to serve you.”
Chief Lynch first joined the force in 1975 - 43 years ago - as a patrol officer.
Over the years he’s moved up the ranks and actually left the department in 1996 to work as an investigator for an insurance company.
In 2001, Raytown citizens elected him as their next police chief, and he's held onto that role for 18 straight years.
Two year ago, the city council informed Chief Lynch that a tax break to Walmart left the city $3 million short - and he would have to cut his police staff by a third.
Twenty-five police department employees were let go - including 17 police officers.
Upset with the sudden lack of funding, some Raytown citizens organized a petition drive and gathered the 1,800 signatures needed for an audit.
In the petition, they claim cutting all those positions within the police department put the public at risk and argue the police department is too top heavy. They believe overall, there's been mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. The state auditor accepted the petition but has not yet set a date to begin an audit.
Chief Lynch's last day is set for February 14.