After 35 years with the department, Rob Knox is retiring April 6 as chief of the Zionsville Police Department.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Knox said. “It’s mixed emotions, you know what I mean?”
Knox, who just turned 62, has been contemplating this move for a long time, but says it had nothing to do with politics.
“I want to emphasize that this has nothing to do with the mayor’s race,” Knox said. “She’s not running me off and I’m not leaving because of her.”
Knox said he thought about retiring earlier, but he procrastinated. He was nudged by his wife of 40 years, Karin.
“I’m just telling people I don’t want to do anything I don’t want to do,” Knox said. “I’m sure my better half has a list she’s compiling. I think she has plans. I might be retiring from here, but I think she has other plans.”
His career has spanned 40 years, including several years with the drug task force. He started his career with the Lebanon Police Department, began working in the reserves of Zionsville, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Knox grew up in Advance and graduated from Western Boone High School. He was a journeyman pipefitter who caught the law enforcement bug.
“I came here just to be a police officer and I’ve been so blessed with opportunities and amazing friends and mentors in the business,” Knox said. “I really think I’ve been in the right place at the right time.”
One of his highlights is attending the FBI National Academy, in 1997, which honed his skills and give him some valuable contacts at a federal level and worldwide. He used those contacts to help on one of his first cases after graduating.
“I had this case of a missing federal agent, a lady that worked for the FAA,” Knox said. “She kept a very detailed ledger or diary. I sent that out to behavioral scientists, people like to call them profilers. Just the fact that I was an alum of the national academy opened some doors for me. I knew who I was sending it to. I had them as an instructor.”
Unfortunately, the missing agent was found dead awhile later, Knox said, but finding her helped close the case for family and friends.
He’s never thought of his approach to law enforcement as a philosophy, but if he had to name one, it would be based on the Golden Rule.
“Treat people like you want to be treated,” Knox said. “You realize that everybody’s human. Everybody is somebody’s somebody, no matter how rotten they are.”
On April 6, Knox plans to address the Zionsville Town Council before he leaves. He is offering help to new Mayor Emily Styron to the extent she wants the help. He said he wanted to work the first quarter of 2020 before stepping down, primarily to help during the transition to a new mayor for Zionsville. He isn’t exactly sure what he plans to say during the meeting, but he will thank the community for his opportunity.