Forty years in law enforcement is coming to an end next week as the city of Chubbuck says goodbye to its police chief, Randy Severe.
Severe is no stranger to law enforcement. Originally set to go to law school, he started volunteering as a reserve officer.
“In those two months, I absolutely fell in love with the job,” Severe reflected.
He was offered the job permanently so he asked his wife what she thought.
“Her words were, ‘You just as well get paid for it. You spend as much time down there as the guys who work there and you don’t get paid for it,'” Severe said.
And so a multi-decade career was born.
“I’m patriotic and a true blue through and through.”
Severe started in 1973 with the Rupert Police Department. He then went to Idaho State Police in Idaho Falls and finally, he ended up in Chubbuck where he spent the majority of his career. First he was a patrolman, then a detective, and then chief in 2004, where he has stayed for almost 14 years.
“Randy is the quality of law enforcement,” said Chubbuck mayor Kevin England, of Severe’s retirement. “He could have been anywhere. I’m so grateful that he found a commitment to this community, long before I was around, and that that continued. Because of his quality, he’s attracted good quality people and we have a department that in my mind is second to none.”
Severe said a lot has changed in his time in law enforcement.
“It would take hours probably to come up with all the things I’ve seen that have happened over those 40 years,” he said.
But he said there were a few that came immediately to mind.
“The days of having the cameras in the cars – I saw the very, very beginnings of that and it wasn’t pretty. I never dreamed – ever – of body-worn cameras and yet, Chubbuck Police Dept was the first agency in Southern Idaho to go to body-worn cameras for each officer,” Severe remarked. “Big change in mentality of the public as far as the police are concerned. Back in the day it was cops and robbers and you caught the robbers they said, ‘Okay, fair is fair and I’m caught.’ And now, they just want to shoot you.”
Severe is an expert in many areas including handwriting analysis, accident reconstruction and accounting. He said it’s hard to pick a favorite memory or standout case during his time, but there is one thing he will take with him as he leaves.
“The people that I’ve had the privilege to work with. I’m amazed as I sit and think sometimes of the quality of people that I know,” he said. “The quality of people I’ve had the opportunity to associate with is amazing.”
Severe’s last day as chief will be Dec. 12, marking exactly 40 years to the day that he’s been in law enforcement.
England said they don’t have his replacement yet, but they are in the process of interviews. He said they held off on any selection until after the mayoral election in November until they knew that England would be re-elected. England said they hope to have the new chief selected before Severe leaves on his last day.
Severe said once he retires, he wants to do some traveling with his wife and go visit some of their kids and grandkids. He said he might try to discover some new hobbies, and he and his wife will possibly serve an LDS mission down the road.