Burnsville will soon be on the prowl for a new top cop. Police Chief Bob Hawkins has said he plans to retire this coming December.
“It’s been such a good journey for me,” Hawkins told Sun Thisweek, which broke the story on July 25. “But I am a true believer it’s a young man’s, young woman’s profession...And it’s time for us to get some fresh blood in there.”
Hawkins, aged 52, has a long history in Burnsville, where he was raised and schooled. Both his parents worked as educators for Burnsville's School District 191.
Hawkins chose a very different path. After graduating from Burnsville High in 1978, Hawkins joined the United States Army, serving from 1978 to 1981. Upon discharge, he opted for a career in law enforcement, which took him back to Dakota County. He spent five years at the Eagan PD before joining up with Burnsville's police force in 1988. At the time, Burnsville was one of a select number of departments which required a four-year degree. Hawkins held an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University, then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of St. Thomas.
While rising through the ranks, Hawkins received the department’s Distinguished Service Award twice and its Meritorious Service Award three times. In 1998 he was promoted to sergeant. He became a captain in 2002. His promotion to chief came in 2004, after Dave Farrington retired. Hawkins is the fifth police chief to serve Burnsville since the town's incorporation in 1964.
He was recently chosen to be a member of the .
“For me, it has been such a privilege and an honor to be able to give back to the community that quite frankly helped raise me,” Hawkins told Sun Thisweek. “I have such a strong passion for Burnsville. I've been a part of this community for over 48 years.”
He will officially retire on Dec. 19.
Hawkins' reitrement is the latest of several that have swept the Dakota County law enforcement community in recent months. Until , Apple Valley's top spot was vacant after retired in December 2011. Rosemount is still on the search for a new chief to take the place of who resigned in May. One of the finalists for that job is Burnsville's own , who could also be a contender for Hawkins' position, along with fellow Capt. Eric Gieseke.