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Posted on: January 7, 2021

Detective Dave Howell has Left the Building Ending an Illustrious Career!

Dave Howell gray WEB

The City’s longest tenured employee has retired. As of December 31, 2020, Plano has had to contend with the departure of our beloved Detective Earl “Dave” Howell. He racked up a number of awards and achievements over the decades; some of which are:

  • First K-9 Officer, 4 Meritorious Service Awards and Master Peace Officer
  • First Auto Theft Detective, a position he held since 1986
  • 100+ commendations and 10 Safe Driving Awards
  • Officer of the Year…TWICE. (the ONLY officer to achieve this)

Read this interview with Dave…”44 and done!”

Where were you born?
Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Personal info: married/single, children, pets?Dave Howell and family
I will have been married to Carey for 36 years in May of this year. We have four children: Kim, Sherrille, Brandon and Stephen.  In fact, Brandon is a firefighter/paramedic with the Plano Fire department, Stephen is a Plano Police detective, and a daughter and son-in-law are both deputies with the Collin County Sheriff’s Office. Carey and I have four grandchildren.

When did you start working for the City of Plano?
December 6, 1976.

Do you recall your very first day on the job?
Yes, I do. I remember how welcome I was made to feel, even on the first day of work. So many people wanted every rookie to do well; they latched onto you quick to make sure you were doing it right.  I remember getting here and just being so anxious to get into the academy and get after it.

Did you always want to be a police officer?
Yes. I don’t remember anything else standing out that would have trumped my decision to choose this profession.

What did a typical day on the job entail?
I am in the Criminal Investigation division assigned to auto theft investigations. The day starts off with case assignments and then it moves from there. Because auto theft is such a mobile crime, and constantly changing with the way they are stolen and the reasons they are stolen, cases are sometimes moving so quick, to get vehicles recovered, vehicles inspected, or suspects identified and arrested. It just keeps you on your toes. This is what appeals to me so much. With something to always keep you busy, time flies.  

With such a demanding job, how did you unwind?...hobbies?
The best thing that helps me decompress is my wife. Without her support, understanding and patience, this career would have never happened.

What’s the best dish you can cook?
I can open a mean can of soup and boil it on the stove. Other than that, you will just have to guess who is doing the cooking in my house.

What motivated you to do the job so long?
It was gratifying to be in touch with the public and knowing what you are doing is helping someone; or at the very least giving them a feeling of security that someone out there is looking out for them. The public knows that we’re trying to help them through a time in their lives that has affected them in way they are not accustomed to. 

Dave Howell youngDid you intend to work for Plano this long?
I intended to work for Plano until I retired. But if someone would have asked if I was going to go for 40+, I would have probably said no.  Interesting that “this long” comes up, because it has gone by so fast, it feels like I have been here only about 20 or 25 years.  So when I looked up and 40 years was staring back, it amazes me that it crept up so fast.  

What would your (former) coworkers be surprised to know about you?
My father played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and my brother played for the Cleveland Indians. I was looked at by the San Diego Padres, but my passion was law enforcement. 

You are a LAW WARRIOR.  When you hang up the shield, how will you fill the days?
I will spend it enjoying every day with family.  When I retire, I’ll never really be away from this job.  Our oldest daughter is a mom and married to a career Navy man. My other children and extended family are in service too.  The house will always be full of uniforms and stories.


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Posted on: January 7, 2021