A Long time coming
35-year police veteran named Citizen of the Year
For the second year in a row, the Eudora Chamber of Commerce recognized its Citizen of the Year as someone outside the business realm. USD 491 Superintendent and Citizen for 2001, presented Eudora Police Chief Bill Long with this year's honor Saturday night at the Chamber's annual dinner.
"From the school district's perspective, we thank Bill Long for his years of service," Kobza said. "In the time I've been here we've had one incident -- maybe more -- at the schools he's helped us out with.
"He's always been really cooperative; really great to work with (through) all he's done to make Eudora the community it is."
Long was born in Appleton City, Mo., in 1943, and came to Eudora 10 years later. After graduating from Eudora High School in 1961, he started as a reserve officer in 1968, the same year he married his wife, Teri. Their son, Jody, and his wife, Brenda, live in Eudora also.
He became a part-time officer in 1970, and after graduating from the Kansas Law Enforcement Academy in 1974, then-mayor D.E. Kerr and the Eudora City Council hired Long as the full-time police chief. For a while, he was the only full-time officer.
"I guess before him there were no criminals in Eudora or nothing illegal happened," Kobza said jokingly.
Long said, "Well, the last 35 years have been an experience, I'll say that. But I've been really fortunate."
The chief said he'd been able to work with good mayors and good City Council members during his tenure.
"They never told the police department what to do," Long said. "They just let us do our jobs, and everything went well for us. I've been really lucky."
The city is contemplating applications for Long's replacement upon his retirement in April.
"I'm about to get myself out of trouble in two months," he said. "(Teri) just reminded me in '68 the first time I put the uniform she said, 'I hope you're not going to do this the rest of your life.'"
-- Contributing: Theresa Abel