Cake, Tears, Tales, And Tie-Dye: Community Honors Retired EPD Chief

Dec 12, 2017

Now-former Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns was officially honored today in a public ceremony.  As KLCC’s Bull reports, Kerns wraps up 34 years of service. 

Former EPD Chief Pete Kerns is presented with his own tie-dyed t-shirt. It reads: PROTECT. SERVE. RETIRE.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“What we’d like to do is, we’re going to go ahead and present your retirement badge," said Florence PD Chief Tom Turner, rustling a bouquet.  "In addition, present some flowers to Joan…” 

Special retirement cake for the event.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Roughly 200 people gathered in the First Baptist Church for the event. Dignitaries from Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis to family paid tribute to Pete Kerns’ many years on the force.  

Pete Kerns (center) with his wife, Joan, and other family members at today's event.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Anecdotes touched on the 2011 death of Officer Chris Kilcullen, the Occupy Eugene movement, and EPD’s move to a new location.

Besides numerous plaques and certificates, Kern’s peers also presented him a commemorative tie-dyed t-shirt.  Kerns looked humbled by all of the attention.  

(laughs) “Well the whole thing is very, very nice," Kerns told KLCC right after the event.  

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis presents an American flag and other commemorative honors to Pete Kerns at today's event. She also read a letter from Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio thanking Kerns for his many years on the EPD.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

"When you know yourself and how human you are, you don’t feel worthy of this kind of recognition. But I sure do appreciate what everybody said and how kind their words were.”

December 11th was Kerns’ last day with the EPD.  His new role will be as chief of staff for St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.