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Chamber Thanks Chief Lanning On Retirement
LA MESA -- After 35 years with the same police force, La Mesa Chief Alan Lanning received words of praise and farewell from the business community this morning.
More than 50 friends, colleagues, business and civic leaders gathered at the Masonic Lodge for a breakfast event sponsored by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Citibank, With Esteem and SDG&E.
In many ways, La Mesa was a smaller town when Lanning joined the police force more than three decades ago. As the city grew, Lanning moved up through the department ranks and, eventually quietly took on the chief's position.
"Quiet'' may be the defining word for much of Lanning's tenure. As an officer and as chief he was noted for a quiet competence. There were some union tensions during his chief's tenure, but for the most part his career and his career in leadership was clear of big news or great controversies of any kind.
At the start of Lanning's career as chief, his focus was on staffing challenges Lanning said. In the 10 years as chief, he has hired half of his current staff and promoted 15 of 18 senior positions. Lanning talked about the recent success of his department and encouraged attendees to visit the city website which recently published the La Mesa Police Department's 2nd Quarter Operations Report.
Lanning leaves a department that now operates in a much more complex environment than when he joined the force. Now a city of close to 60,000 that finds itself at the crossroads of an increasingly urban county, La Mesa police deal with more complex issues, as the recent gang sweeps conducted in La Mesa suggest.
Still, Lanning has been part of a La Mesa leadership that has managed to keep the city's desired small town feel even amid the urban growth in and around the city's borders.
City officials are continuing the search for his successor -- considering candidates both within and from outside the department. September 15 is Lanning's last official date as Chief of the La Mesa Police Department.
More La Mesa Chamber breakfast photos: