August 26, 2005 in Idaho

CdA Tribe police chief to retire in October

By The Spokesman-Review
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

Tom Cronin, chief of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Police and former chief of the city of Coeur d’Alene Police Department, is retiring in October.

Cronin said his contract is up on Oct. 14, and he will serve as police chief and head of the tribe’s justice department until that time.

In more than 41 years of police work, “I’ve seen enough dead bodies, enough crime scenes,” he said.

Cronin took the job with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe shortly after resigning from the city of Coeur d’Alene two years ago after a disagreement with the City Council over how to respond to the disclosure that 24 police officers had lacked certification at some point during the previous 27 years.

Cronin tried to have the lieutenant in charge of the certification paperwork fired, but the council found that Cronin had no grounds to do so.

The tribe then asked Cronin to take over its 14-person police department and raise its level of professionalism.

Cronin said in the last two years he’s made sure all the officers have been to Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy, has had them all cross-deputized so they have jurisdiction over non-tribal members and has made uniforms mandatory. He’s also written a policy manual for the department and brought policies in line with the neighboring sheriffs.

“I did everything they wanted me to do,” Cronin said.

Cronin began his law enforcement career in 1964 at a military base in Germany. He spent 31 years with the Chicago Police Department, where he developed expertise in crime scene investigations and became a senior commander.

Cronin was hired as Coeur d’Alene police chief from a field of 77 applicants in 2000. Now 60, Cronin said retirement doesn’t mean he won’t be involved in the community.

He plans to stay in Coeur d’Alene, where he’s active in several organizations, including the North Idaho College Booster Club, the Kootenai County emergency planning committee and the Women’s Center.

Cronin had a year-to-year contract with the tribe.

“When the tribe asked me to do something for their department, I looked at it and said I didn’t know how long it would take,” he said Thursday. “And when I got it done in two years, I looked at it and said, ‘You know what? I don’t need anymore challenges.’ ”

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