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After 4 decades of police service, Walker police chief to retire | News

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After 4 decades of police service, Walker police chief to retire

WALKER, Mich. (WZZM) -- Walker Police Chief Catherine Garcia-Lindstrom, who broke barriers when she became the first woman to head a city of Kent County police force, announced today she is retiring from the position she's held for 15 years.

"I feel really blessed for the time and experience I've had with the city and its residents,'' she said today. "I'm ready to move forward with a new chapter in my life.''

Her retirement, announced in a joint statement with the City of Walker, takes effect Feb. 1. Garcia-Lindstrom will remain as a consultant through 2016 to assist in the transition of leadership.

"Bottom line is we're moving forward and I'm waiting for the city to sign the documents,'' she said.

Garcia-Lindstrom came to Walker in 2000 after working as an officer in the City of Detroit, eventually achieving the rank as commander. Women officers were only assigned to two of the city's precincts when she joined as a rookie cop in 1974.

Ten years after her arrival in Walker, Garcia-Lindstrom transitioned into a new role as director of public safety after the city merged its police and fire departments. City officials are now moving forward with plans to return to separate departments.

Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga praised Garcia-Lindstrom for her leadership as a manager and an administrator.

Her myriad accomplishments include creating mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement agencies, launching the city's Senior Volunteer program and updating the city's fire insurance classification, which helped lower fire insurance rates for homes and businesses.

Garcia-Lindstrom was also instrumental in building the city's Police-Fire Memorial, which was dedicated in 2006 and financed through private donations. She's also promoted every supervisor in the city's department of public safety.

A native of Pontiac, Garcia-Lindstrom has three grown daughters.