Sedalia Police Chief John DeGonia announced at a press conference on Wednesday morning that he would be retiring after 32 years on the force.

DeGonia's last day as Sedalia's chief of police will be May 2. DeGonia said that he is grateful for the community has shown the police department during his career, and said that his is also grateful for the new police department headquarters that is being built across the street from the Municipal Building.

"But it's the people inside the building who make it what it is," DeGonia remarked about the new SPD HQ.

DeGonia began his career with the Sedalia Police Department as a patrol officer on April 28, 1986. As many Sedalians will recall, Degonia worked with the department's K-9 partner, Dasso. Degonia became a sergeant in 1996 and later promoted to commander in 2002. In January, 2006, he was selected to become Sedalia's police chief.

DeGonia briefly served as Sedalia Interim City Administrator from December 2010 until Aug. 1, 2011.

DeGonia also taught criminal justice classes at State Fair Community College for many years

"32 years is a long time," said a tearful DeGonia said. "The day has come, after much consideration, for me to retire from the Sedalia Police Department."

DeGegonia went on to say, "It has been an amazing journey. I walked into the department, straight from college, never looking back. It was to my surprise that I was hired. The chief at the time stated they would give me a try and see what happens. Well, 32 years later, I'm known as chief. I guess I worked out."

Sedalia Mayor Stephen J. Galliher led off the press conference in the upstairs conference room, noting his achievements over his career.

"While John DeGonia's leadership and friendship will be greatly missed in the Police Chief's office, I personally, along with the entire City staff, wish him the very best in his coming retirement. A formal reception honoring Chief DeGonia will soon be announced," Gallier said in his prepared remarks.

The press conference was attended by members of the SPD's command staff and others.

DeGonia's replacement has not been announced. The Police Personnel Board will convene and start the process of hiring a new chief.

This is a breaking news story. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

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