Bethel police chief resigns after a year on duty

Leonard "Pete" Hicks
Bethel Police Department Chief Leonard “Pete” Hicks (From BPD)

Bethel Police Chief Leonard “Pete” Hicks submitted his resignation letter to the City of Bethel on Tuesday. He said that his last day will be Dec. 31, 2023.

“I’ve enjoyed the community,” Hicks said. “I like the community. But I feel like I’ve reached a point where there’s just not much more I can do, and it will just probably be in everybody’s best interest at this point just to move on and let somebody else try.”

City of Bethel Human Resources Director Laura Cloward confirmed receiving Hicks’ resignation Wednesday. She said that Hicks has been on the job for a year and a few months, after starting on Sept. 12, 2022.

“We know he’s definitely had an impact on the Bethel community, and we really appreciate his service and wish him all the best for his future,” Cloward said.

Last year Hicks, an Army veteran with 20 years of law-enforcement experience, said one of his priorities was building public engagement and trust in the department. He also sought to improve transparency of the department’s operations.

Hicks’ resignation letter didn’t cite any specific incidents that motivated his decision. But in the letter Hicks wrote, “Both internal and external interference and challenges have hindered my ability to enforce and maintain discipline within the department.”

As of Wednesday evening, the city had not posted a job bulletin or a timeline for hiring a new police chief.

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