“It’s hard to walk away. Few people can say they did their dream job in the town they love,” said Officer Timothy Wilmes.
Wilmes will retire February 5 from the Loveland Police Department (LPD), where he has served the community for nearly 31 years. He is the longest serving LPD employee.
Known for his love of his family, Christmas and his 2011 LPD-issued Crown Victoria, many in the community — even those he may have arrested — regard Wilmes as an all-around nice guy. He is the constant “good cop” whether you are in a time of need or just bumping into him around town. When many see his Crown Vic driving down the road, they can’t help but smile.
“I have made so many contacts as a police officer, and the people are great,” he said. “This is a great town, and I’ve been blessed to work in the town I grew up.”
Born and raised in Loveland, Ohio, Wilmes attended Loveland City Schools and then enrolled in Scarlet Oaks Career Campus’ law enforcement program. He then moved on to Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
“I knew since age 5 I wanted to be a police officer. I was the kid pulling over bikes in our subdivision,” he joked. “By nature, I am a quiet person, but when I put on this uniform, I am ready to perform my role and give everyone my best.”
Prior to joining the LPD force in 1990, he worked at a dispatch center in Hamilton County and for Xavier University’s campus police.
Wilmes describes himself as a multi-tasker and problem solver. These skills have served him in the management of LPD’s fleet operations. Appointed to this task by former Police Chief Dennis Rees, he has managed LPD’s fleet for 25 years. A position that once managed six vehicles has grown to oversee 17 vehicles.
In this role, Wilmes has been responsible for upfitting department vehicles with needed equipment like lights and sirens, as well as handling vehicle maintenance. He has developed relationships with multiple vendors and even attended yearly police fleet tradeshows held across the country.
Keeping other officers’ best interest in mind, he started the procedure of assigning vehicles to officers. This has aided LPD in keeping maintenance costs to a minimum and helped to avoid “hotseating,” the practice of a car being constantly driven through multiple shifts.
“I have a system. I want each officer to be comfortable and familiar with their own vehicle. A police officer’s car should fit like a glove, and officers should be comfortable knowing a car’s capabilities. If a vehicle does need maintenance, I will set that officer up with a similar truck or car to drive,” he said.
Wilmes’ partner Lieutenant Amy Campbell vouches for his commitment to improving operations: “Tim’s passion is to keep things moving smoothly. For instance, with a traffic situation, he is always trying to figure out how to open traffic while keeping workers safe. His big thing is always protecting the safety of the people around him.”
A Relationship Builder
As evidenced from the fleet management relationships he has built with vendors, Wilmes strongly believes in building relationships with everyone he meets. One partnership he has helped to build is between the LPD and St. Columban School in Loveland. He was the school’s self-proclaimed School Resource Officer (SRO) before one was officially appointed.
While on and off duty, he would often visit his three children on their lunch break and then spend time visiting with other students in the lunchroom. With the support of the school’s principal, he helped to establish safety drills, active shooter training, and emergency response protocol with the staff.
“The kids were already used to seeing a police officer at school because of me, so it was a natural transition when Officer [Jake] Steinkoenig was assigned to the school,” he explained. “I’m very passionate about students’ safety and I am pleased there is now an official SRO.”
So what’s next for Wilmes? He admits he isn’t sure what retirement looks like quite yet.
“A good friend told me you have to have a purpose in retirement. I’m looking for a purpose,” he explained. “But I do want to be bored for a little while! Maybe travel in the future.”
He is a devoted husband and busy father of three high school-aged children. In fact, he has passed his legacy of service to his children, who are interested in serving one day through the military, fire service, and police service. “It’s a blast being a dad. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. It’s been adventurous,” he reflected.
Since announcing his retirement in December, Wilmes says he has been touched by the outpouring of messages from community members.
“I think God sends people to you for a reason. A lot of our job is non-police work — wearing a social worker hat, cop hat, firefighter hat. People need help, and they call you. On every run, I know I’ve done everything I can to help keep the person alive. I try to protect people from themselves,” he said. “I can honestly say I’ve done everything I can for the people I’ve served. You see good and you see bad, but being a police officer is great.”
Wilmes’ final day of service is February 5. He will be honored at the Loveland City Council meeting on February 9 (7 p.m. at City Hall). LPD is currently planning a retirement celebration with details to be released. To learn more about the City of Loveland’s Police Department, please visit https://www.lovelandoh.gov/189/Police.