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Cape Coral police captain readies for retirement

By Staff | Sep 18, 2010

Cape Coral police Capt. Tim Rivers knew as a small boy that he wanted to grow up and work in law enforcement — his family has a passion for it.
His father was a police officer, and it was Rivers’ dream to be one, too. Rivers and his brother, Bill, worked alongside one another at the Cape Coral Police Department until Bill retired in 2006. Rivers’ son, Michael, is an officer with the Marine Corps, a career path arguably parallel to law enforcement.
“I’ve always had the passion,” Rivers said. “I’ve always had the drive.”
Rivers, who joined the Cape force in 1982, recently announced his plans to retire after serving the department for nearly three decades. Currently, he is the Central Bureau commander and is responsible for the Central District patrol and the district resource coordinators. His last day will be Sept. 30.
“I’ve really enjoyed working here,” Rivers said.
“I’m so proud to have been a part of this,” he said. “This department is a very good department.”
Rivers has been considering retirement for the last year or so. He said he has seen others that he worked with for years move on as younger officers have joined the department, and he realized that it might be his time to go.
“A lot of guys that I worked with have come and gone,” Rivers said, adding that he is in a good place mentally to retire. “I feel like it’s OK to walk away.”
Family also played a large part in his decision. Rivers said he wants to follow his son’s career in the military, and he has a daughter, Kelli, attending Florida State University as a sophomore this year. Rivers also wants to travel more time with his wife, Mary, who currently teaches at Fort Myers High School.
“We are a very close family,” he said.
According to Rivers, interim Police Chief Jay Murphy has decided not to name a replacement to the position to help reduce the police department’s budget.
Prior to his employment with the Cape, Rivers worked for the Kent State University Police Department in Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Kent State, and Rivers received a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.
He also is a graduate of the Administrative Officers Management Program at North Carolina State University.
During his time with the Cape Coral Police Department, Rivers held various positions and worked in different areas. He was a detective, was assigned to the tactical and the SWAT units, and was an Honor Guard member. Rivers was promoted to sergeant of the road patrol, and worked nights as a lieutenant.
“Eventually you work your way into other avenues,” he said.
Rivers has held his current captain’s position for the last seven years.
Asked about his tenure at the agency, he said one of his most enjoyable positions was as a supervisor of investigations. Rivers recalled a case that the officers nicknamed “Sweet Lands,” in which the owner of an ice cream shop was using youths to commit burglaries. The case ran from 1993-94.
“We were able to break that ring apart,” he said.
The camaraderie among the officers in investigations was also memorable.
“I was proud of the accomplishments and the work they showed,” he said.
Another highlight of Rivers’ time with the department was working as a lieutenant on the night road patrol and the dedication of those officers.
“I was part of a unit taking care of the city at night,” he said.
As for what Rivers will miss the most upon retiring, the humor of his fellow officers took the top of the list, along with “the high fives when they catch a bad guy” and the camaraderie. The thing he will miss the least about the job: some of the rougher crime scenes, especially those involving children.
“This job is not an easy job,” Rivers said. “You have to be able to handle the stresses.”
In regards to a legacy or what he hopes to leave behind, Rivers said for the officers at the department to care about the people they work with and for.
“Respect,” he said. “Treat the good people good, and the bad people the way they deserve to be treated.”