PAYETTE — Payette Police Chief Mark Clark announced Monday that he is soon retiring from the position he has held the past 13 years.

Clark, a member of the department for more than 30 years, will step down at the end of the month. Succeeding Clark as chief will be John Plaza, currently a captain with the Payette Police Department, Mayor Jeff Williams announced at Monday’s City Council meeting following an executive session.

Clark used the Citizen Comments portion of the March 4 agenda to read aloud a letter he had written. It was addressed to the mayor and council, and reads as follows.

“I have decided that after 30 years and 3 months it is time for me to officially announce my retirement as the Chief of Police for Payette City. My last day of employment will be April 1st 2019.

“The City of Payette and it’s citizens have treated me very well and I feel it is time to get out on top. The Payette Police Department has never been in better shape, and I feel very confident that those Officers who replace me are well trained and have the well being of its citizens in mind.

“I appreciate the support and opportunities that were afforded to me and my family.”

Williams fondly recalled that one of the finest compliments he had ever received in his role as mayor came from a Payette resident who quoted what Clark had told the resident about Williams: “He lets me do my job.”

Clark praised the selection of Plaza as next police chief.

“I think you’re going to be in really good hands, and I feel good about leaving,” Clark told the council.

In a short interview, Clark said he grew up in Vale, Oregon, and after high school he went into the U.S. Army for six years, serving as a combat engineer. He later served in the Army National Guard in Ontario while starting a law enforcement career in Vale. He was a reserve officer on the Vale police force until he was hired as a patrol officer in Payette in 1989.

Clark said the Payette force used to include only 12 officers, but during his tenure as chief the number increased to 14 sworn officers plus two civilian positions.

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