CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Gary Hinzman will retire as the director of the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services in May after serving the community for 24 years.
Hinzman announced his retirement at the department's December board meeting, according to a news release. He has operated the community-based correctional programs, which cover a six county area in eastern central Iowa, since 1989.
"It has often been said if you love what you do, you never have to go to work a day in your life," Hinzman said Friday. "That expression fits me. There may have been a few days that were an exception, but not many."
Hinzman, who grew up on Amana, served in law enforcement and criminal justice for more than four decades. He was a Cedar Rapids Police officer, police helicopter pilot, detective and the director of the police academy. In 1985, he was promoted to police chief of the department and served until 1989.
His accomplishments during his leadership have been several new programs and services including a treatment services division, workforce development efforts, a high risk unit of certified law enforcement officers, and a reserve officer program. He led construction projects for new offices and residential facilities in Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Toledo between 1991-1996. In 2007, he secured funding for construction of the first residential corrections mental health facility in Iowa, the ANCHOR Center.
In 1991, the Sixth Judicial District Board of Directors, as a result of activities and urging by local advocates, recognized the need for additional financial resources to support programs in the community and district. The Board identified a small group of individuals who worked with Hinzman to form a nonprofit organization, the Community Corrections Improvement Association, a foundation to support and further the efforts of community corrections.
Hinzman has been honored locally and nationally for his contributions. The Cedar Rapids Chamber selected him for their Community Trustee Award as an outstanding community leader in 1996. He has served on several state and national committees and boards, written articles for many national publications, and been invited to share his expertise internationally. He has been the recipient of awards from the National Association of Probation Executives and the American Probation & Parole Association.
"Gary has put the Sixth Judicial District on the national map, Jean Kuehl, assistant director, said. "The relationships and networking he has established have paid off in multiple ways for the District, as well as the foundation. While this district had a 'culture of innovation' before he came here, he has certainly encouraged that culture. He understands intimately that solving the revolving door of corrections will not come by doing the same things over and over."
Hinzman said he plans to continue working with the foundation after his retirement.