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Riding his bike off into the sunset, longtime downtown officer Howard Florence retires

I mean I can remember even when I first
started, the bars closed at one o’clock and there would be no activity downtown
on the weekends. And then with an influx of the bars, the restaurants, the
revitalization through the late 2000s, it’s really changed with many more
people moving downtown and just with all the activity that goes on. The downtown environment… I like being
outside. Our general mode of transportation is a bicycle, so that’s
kind of my hobby is cycling, so it all just kind of just kind of fit together. I
enjoy getting to know all of the business owners downtown and interacting
with visitors, and also tackling some of the challenges that a downtown urban
environment brings. A lot of it is just being visible, being approachable to
people. For people that have to visit downtown, maybe they only come down once
or twice a year to do some business and they’re not sure where to go. Instruct
people where to go park. And then the flip side of that is kind of dealing
with some of the the issues with the homeless population that we have down
here. You just treat everybody, you know, with the same respect that you would expect
to be treated with. I think just trying to help them as best we can, even
if they have to go to jail because more than likely when they get out in a few
days or a couple of months we see them again. I mean we have a relationship with
them just coming to work and just interacting with them every day.
But I enjoy that challenge quite a bit, especially helping the
people with with severe mental illness. Anybody can be affected by that.
And so really seeing their struggles and really trying to do what you can to help
them I think that’s that’s probably in the last two or three years what I’ve enjoyed the most. …And whereas Officer Florence is a
friendly fixture at downtown events informally considered the mayor of
downtown, sometimes confused with former Mayor Jim
Gray, and whereas Officer Florence is
described as a consummate professional who provides a high level of customer
service with kindness and compassion to everyone he encounters, and whereas
Officer Florence is retiring October 14, 2019 from the Lexington Police
Department after more than 25 years of service. Now therefore, I, Linda Gordon, Mayor of Lexington do hereby declare October 14, 2019 Howard Florence Day in
Lexington.It really doesn’t matter how long you’ve
been here. You can always learn from just watching other people. And just
know that you just need to do the right thing. That’s the other important
aspect, too. Whatever it is, do the right thing.

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