Clem retiring as chief
Mike Clem is heading for retirement after 39 years in law enforcement, the last seven as Edinburg’s police chief.
Edinburg is Clem’s hometown, the place where he interrupted his first retirement in 2003 to join the police force a year later.
Clem is grateful that his return to the street has been largely free of the stress and uncertainty police face in some other communities, but this time he expects his retirement to stick.
“I figure it’s time,” Clem said. “I’m 62 years old and out on the street is not the place I want to be at this point in life.”
Clem became police chief in April 2008 and began a stint that passed with little drama. The 32 hours a week he works make him the sole part-timer in the three-member department.
“Hopefully, it helps the town having a part-time person such as myself because they don’t have to pay the benefits they pay a full-time person,” Clem said.
“It’s a nice town to work in if you’re a police officer,” Clem added. “What stands out most about it is you get to know just about everybody. It makes it difficult for some of the criminals because they know that you know who they are.”
It takes Clem five minutes to travel from his farm to work. The chief, like the other members of the department, has to be willing to work varying shifts on different days of the week.
Clem said the job is well suited to someone with supervisory experience in law enforcement who is retired, but open to re-entering the workforce just as he did in 2004 when he ended his first retirement. Clem had last worked in 2003 as a state police first sergeant assigned to Shenandoah and Page counties. He worked a total of 28 years with the state police.
Clem said the next chief should be someone with a lot of patience in coping with technological changes in policing. The strife in Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities in the aftermath of deadly confrontations between police and citizens hasn’t been felt in Edinburg, but Clem isn’t dismissing changes in overall public perceptions about how police do their jobs.
Some officers “will question why they would want to do police work after a while,” Clem said.
Retirement will leave Clem with more time to spend on his small farm, where he raises cattle.
“I’ll be looking out after them,” Clem said of the cattle. “It’s not a big money maker, but it keeps the grass down.”
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org