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Cumiskey announces retirement from WPD

Shown is Worthington Police Chief Mike Cumiskey who officially announced Monday he will retire from the Worthington Police Department at the end of May. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — After serving 15 years in Worthington and 28 years in law enforcement, Worthington Police Chief Mike Cumiskey officially announced Monday that he will retire at the end of May.

“I took a step by faith and realized that now is the perfect time to go,” he said.

Cumiskey began his career as an officer for the Winona Police Department in 1986. He was not only an officer there, but later served on the Winona SWAT team and was the department’s firearms instructor. He started with the city of Worthington in August 1999, and has been Worthington’s director of public safety ever since.

“I’ve been working ever since I was 15, and I thought it would be a good time for me to take some time and decompress,” Cumiskey said.

There have been a string of retirements from law enforcement this year across the state. A change in Minnesota law involving the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) froze the cost of living adjustment, then increased the penalty for retiring early.

“I’m in that 50-55 age group that is going to see the changes,” Cumiskey said. “The penalties don’t take effect until July 1, but you have to be retired and drawing from the PERA for one month, so the last day you can retire is May 31.”

Cumiskey has been mulling over what his second career could possibly be, and states that he has a few things “on the burner” but nothing serious.

“My wife and I are going to be taking a trip to Korea in September,” he said. “We haven’t been there in 10 years, so I don’t think I’ll be looking at anything seriously until then.”

Cumiskey has taught a few classes at Minnesota West Community and Technical College and enjoyed the experience.

“I’d like to do some teaching, and I think if an opportunity opens us around the area then I will consider it,” he said. “But I’m definitely not looking to move out of Worthington anytime soon.”

As for a successor to Cumiskey, the Worthington Police Department, city administrator, city council and service commission will have to set the rules and determine what the process will be to replace him.

A provisional appointment for an interim chief will first be made, according to Cumiskey, and then the civil service commission will advertise for the position and decide whether to hire from outside or within. Cumiskey stated that the process could mean it will take up to 180 days before a new chief will be announced.

As Cumiskey looked back on his 28-year career, he reflected on what he says was the happiest day in his law enforcement career.

“I was on patrol in Winona really early in the morning — this was in 1995 — and I saw a house that was on fire, and I actually woke the people up and got them out of the house in time,” he said. “That was probably the most rewarding moment in my law enforcement career. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Looking back at his time in Worthington, Cumiskey stated that being able to award officers and seeing all the positive changes in the department has been rewarding to him throughout the years.

“Seeing the creation of the Buffalo Ridge Task Force and having them continually be the No. 1 task force in the state has been a privilege to see,” he said. “Seeing Det. (Kevin) Flynn get awards for the Citizens Academy Program, or Officer (Josh) McCuen winning DWI Enforcer Awards, and getting a second K-9; if it wasn’t for Sergeant (Brett) Wiltrout, city council and the efforts of the citizens who donated, we wouldn’t have a second K-9. All of these moments have been rewarding in my career in Worthington.”

As Cumiskey’s law enforcement career comes to a close, he offered his thanks to the Worthington city council, the Worthington Police Department, Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and Worthington residents.

“I truly do consider it an honor and a privilege to have been able to serve the citizens of Worthington,” Cumiskey said.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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