For over 30 years, Lieutenant Tim Baker has served and protected the El Dorado community through his dedication and hard work with the El Dorado Police Department. Now he has decided it is time to retire.
Lt. Baker began with the El Dorado Public Safety Department in January 1993, where he worked on the fire side, as well as spending some time on the police side. In 1995, when the department split into separate police and fire divisions, Lt. Baker decided to stay with the Police Department.
“I wanted to be a firefighter most of my career,” he said, adding that he worked as a firefighter for five years in Kinsley before coming to El Dorado. “Once I started the police work, it really got into my blood. I really wanted to help people.”
Lt. Baker moved up the ranks from Public Safety Officer one, two and three. Then when the department split, he started over on the police side, quickly advancing to master patrol officer because of his experience and time with the department. In 2000 he was promoted to sergeant, and in February 2005 he was promoted to lieutenant.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I enjoy the diversity. We have exposure to so many things the average eye never sees.”
“Over the past 30 years, I have had the honor and privilege to work alongside of Lieutenant Tim Baker,” said Police Chief Mike Holton. “We have both had the opportunity to watch each other grow throughout our careers. Tim has played such a large part in the growth of the El Dorado Police Department.”
During his career, Lt. Baker has enjoyed a wide variety of experiences.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do some advanced training all over the country,” he said. “El Dorado is good about getting us the best training. Again, it goes back to you get out of it what you put into it.”
During his career, Lt. Baker served on the Butler County Drug Task Force for a while, where he worked as a field investigator and dog handler. He worked all over the county and surrounding counties. “That had some adventures with that,” he said. “I worked hand-in-hand with the KBI.”
Lt. Baker also was one of three officers who started the first bicycle program in El Dorado, and he was a canine handler for five years. For several years, he also worked as a drug recognition expert.
“One of the most fulfilling things I’ve done is serve as firearms instructor since May 2000,” he said, adding that he also became range master for the department. In addition, he worked nearly 20 years as a coach at the Kansas Law
Enforcement Training Center while he was at El Dorado, and he has been a guest traffic stop instructor there for about 15 years.
“With any career, you get out what you put in,” he explained. “If you want to see positive, you have to see people in that realm.”
He said sometimes it is as simple as buying someone a hotdog and bottle of water. He recalled one domestic battery case where he took the woman to the Safe House, and he went the extra mile to help her through the process and get her the assistance and care she needed.
“A few years later she sent me a letter,” he said. The letter said if it hadn’t been for Lt. Baker, she would be dead.
“Tim touched so many lives throughout his 30 years in El Dorado,” Chief Holton added. “He touched those lives through kindness and a great heart. He is one of the most respected law enforcement officers that I have ever known.”
When he was promoted to lieutenant, Lt. Baker said that was a brand new set of challenges.
“I had to learn to accept everyone has their own personality, but if you build a team and surround yourself with like-minded people, it works really well,” he said. “I have worked with some of the best officers.”
Lt. Baker’s last day with the El Dorado Police Department is May 28. Although he’s retiring, he doesn’t plan to slow down.
He said he will continue with his modest tree care business, as well as travel and do some off-roading in his jeep. He also wants to spend time getting caught up with his family and making up for all of the things he has missed. This includes spending more time with his youngest son doing hunting and fishing. He also has an older son and daughter. His older son lives in the area, but his daughter is in Washington State, so he already has planned a trip to Washington. He said he plans to load up the family and the dogs and take the long, backroad trip for a visit.
“I appreciate everyone who I’ve worked with over the years,” Lt. Baker said. “I have developed some long-lasting friendships over the last 30 years.”
“Tim was always the calm in the storm kind of guy,” said Chief Holton. “He could walk into an emotionally charged situation and everyone saw how calm he was. Most often times, this would change the entire dynamic of the situation. The officers who were on scene with him would then follow suite. This changed the game so to speak, not only with the officers that he worked with but with the community as well. They knew that when Lieutenant Baker showed up, he meant business, but that is exactly what it was. It was business. People knew that they were getting someone who they knew cared about them and their problem. Tim certainly made a name for himself as far as this goes.
“He will certainly leave a positive legacy with us here at the El Dorado Police Department,” Chief Holton continued. “We will miss his sense of humor and his shenanigans, but by far, we will miss his knowledge, experience and ability to teach others.
“All of us here at the El Dorado Police Department wish Tim the best in his retirement. This is something that he has truly earned. We do expect that he will stop by from time to time and say hello.”
A retirement reception is being held for Lt. Baker from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 31 in the Commission Room at City Hall, 220 E. First Ave. The public is invited to attend.