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June 11, 2014

Windmoller steps down as Omega chief

OMEGA — After serving 18 years in law enforcement, Omega Police Chief Eric Windmoller is stepping down as chief and pursuing a new direction.

Windmoller has been with the Omega Police Department for 16 years, where he served as chief for the last three years. Prior to that, he worked for two years at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

His last day on the job is today.

When asked how he came to the decision to step down, Windmoller said, “Basically, I’m a very religious person and for the last few years, I felt God pushing me in another direction, but I just didn't act on it. I kind of brushed it off and said, ‘Maybe some day. Maybe another day I’ll look into it.’ I just got a really good feeling that now is the time.”

He said he feels he’s accomplished everything that he wanted to accomplish at the department.

“I believe God puts you in a certain place to do a certain thing, and then he’ll move you somewhere else,” he said. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

Windmoller said he’s pursuing a career in the education field.

“It’s totally different, a big change,” he said.

He commented that he’s always said when he gets done with law enforcement, he’s done. He said he’s felt like he’s had this calling to work with kids for quite a while.

“That is the direction that I’m headed,” Windmoller said.

His longtime friend and coworker, Bart Walker, was named interim chief June 4. Walker has been with the Omega Police Department since 2001 and is now looking forward to serving in his new position as interim. He said he was very surprised by Windmoller’s decision to step down. He was one of the first people Windmoller told, other than his family.

Windmoller said he’s happy to have worked with Walker for 13 years. He said they were friends prior to being coworkers.

“I've been blessed for the last three years,” he said.

When he got off of shift work and became chief, Windmoller said that gave him a lot more opportunities to be involved in the community, including visiting schools and helping with the Special Olympics.

“Now that I look back on it, I see where God was pushing me,” he said. “It was like a slap in the face — ‘Now is the time. Get started.’ Everything is falling into place and working out perfectly.”

Windmoller said for the most part, he’s enjoyed serving in law enforcement.

“I got in this line of work to help people,” he said, noting this is the case for the majority of officers.

“This department has changed tremendously since I started here, since Bart started here,” he added. “Right now, I think everything is gelling perfectly. We've been more active in the community the last three years.”

His biggest accomplishment was the department being more community-oriented. He also noted they haven’t had a complaint on an officer in about a year and a half.

“I’m pretty proud of how everything turned out,” Windmoller said.

“We’re being left in a really good position,” Walker said. “We’re going to continue going on just like we've been going for the last three years.”

He said the city will be planning to take resumes and applications for the chief position.

“I've always wanted to leave on a good note,” Windmoller said. “We’re leaving on a good note and I’m really thrilled with that.”

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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