Michael Stephen Tower (Mike) takes leave of his job as Plano Police Deputy Chief as of November 26. Among the police department’s current employees, Mike has the most tenure. In addition,the Niagara Falls, NY native is the longest tenured active City employee as well! Mike is retiring with 40 years and 5 months of service.
Former City Manager James McCarley (and then PPD chief) hired Mike on June 22, 1981. This date (June 22) is super important to Mike. It is also his wife Camille’s birthday, as well as the date his son Brett (Traffic Unit) was sworn-in as a Plano Police officer.
Mike joined the department when there were only 100 sworn officers protecting Plano’s 75,000 residents – there are nearly 300,000 residents today. A recent NBC-5 story also revealed he is the ONLY law enforcement officer in North Texas still carrying a revolver.
In a funny story, Mike says, “Watching Martin Milner and Kent McCord of Adam 12 (1968-75 TV show) convinced me in junior high of what I wanted to be.” He’s been a deputy chief (title was captain at the time) since 2006. Read his parting thoughts:
What were your primary responsibilities – from your first job and from your current job? I started as a patrol officer, became the shift officer in charge in 1984 and was promoted to sergeant in 1991, lieutenant in 1996, and captain in 2006. I spent my first 19 years in patrol, before being assigned to criminal investigations and support services.
Of all your awards, are there some that mean more to you than the others? I was chosen to participate in the International Association of Chief of Police International Officer Exchange Program in 1998. We spent 2 weeks in Belize City learning their policing practices, exchanging ideas and showing support for each other. I was also selected to attend the 222nd session of the FBI National Academy in 2005, and earned the department’s Life Saving Award in 2018.
What did you enjoy most about job? The most enjoyable aspect of the job is the satisfaction received when you have met the expectations of the people who call us for help and they express their gratitude.
What will you miss most about your job? I will miss being a police officer in general, with the honor and prestige that comes with it. But more specifically, I’ll miss the amazing support we have always gotten from City Hall and the citizens we serve.
When you started out, did you think you’d stay on the job this long? I never dreamed I would be here for 40 years. I thought I would get a couple years of experience and then get hired on with an agency in New York. I had never been to Texas and didn’t even know we have grass here! Plano and the State of Texas welcomed me with open arms and gave me opportunities beyond any of my expectations. Working for the City has been a great career and I am so thankful to each city manager and each council that we have served under.
Did you have a “worst day” on the job? We’ve had a list of horrible, tragic incidents that we responded to. But probably the worst day on the job was when I was the first officer on scene of a 3rd grader being crushed by a vehicle that rolled over on him. It was 35 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
What hobby, interest or skill would your coworkers be surprised to know about? Everybody knows my hobby is antique cars and Harleys and that I love the Bills and Yankees. But not many people know I was an award winning cornet player in high school.
What would be the title of your autobiography? The title of my autobiography would be “Same Wife, Same Car, Same Gun.”
What’s the one thing you can’t live without? The one thing I can’t live without is sports on TV. I’m addicted!
Name two things on your Bucket List: Tour Alaska and finish restoring my 57 Vette.
Favorite family ritual: Everyone being together on Thanksgiving morning to watch the parade, the dog show and Christmas movies.
Finish this statement: “If I weren’t a police officer, I would have attended the Coast Guard Academy and became an engineer.”
A favorite quote? “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Clint Eastwood.
Mike thanks every city manager and councilmember he’s served under for the confidence and support shown to the Plano Police Department. He also thanks our residents, “As current national events have illustrated, a police department’s relationship with the community is the most critical element of determining a department’s effectiveness or success. Our citizens have always given us tremendous support. They are truly our partners as together we work to provide a safe community and enhance our quality of life.”
Mike Tower is excited to start his next adventure with Camille (married 40 years), daughter Julie, three sons Scott, Brett and Matt and their two dogs Sabre the Pug and Jack the Golden Retriever.