It was the late 1950's when Bill Lansdowne was arrested for stealing a car. He was only a teenager at the time and by his own admission, he was misguided and in need of a mentor. 

It was the treatment by the arresting officer that lead young Bill to reconsider the direction his life was headed. 

Bill ultimately joined the San Jose Police Department in 1966 and rose through the ranks with a reputation as a fair and innovative leader; appreciated by those who worked for him. 

Bill ultimately became the assistant chief of police for San Jose. But, much to his frustration, he found a glass ceiling. Chief Lou Cobarobious was doing such a fine job Bill felt he might never have a chance to run his own police department. 

So he applied for a job as the chief of police in Richmond California, a small bay area city that had one of the highest crime rates in Northern California. 

As it turned out, the city couldn't have asked for a better person. 

As Richmond’s Chief, Bill cut crime, reduced overtime expenditures by almost 1 million dollars, and improved the overall quality of life in the city. 

While those stats are impressive, they don't tell the personal side to Bill Lansdowne. 

One of the most touching stories is the story of Momma Washington, a poor African-American woman who lived in Richmond. She died penniless and rather than let her go to a paupers grave, Bill opened his wallet and personally paid the thousands of dollars necessary for her funeral services. 

The story never made the news because Bill didn't do it for the publicity; he did it because it was the right thing to do.

Of course many people know Bill shows up at police stations on Christmas Eve and works a patrol shift so an officer can be with their family, but he has also played Santa in other ways as well. 

One Christmas, Bill learned of a sexual assault case involving a developmentally disabled woman whose case was probably not handled as well as it could have been. Not only did Bill make officers redo the case, he asked his wife, Sharon, to buy her Christmas presents, including an Oakland Raiders jacket that she wore almost every day after that. 

Sharon Lansdowne said it was not uncommon for Bill to send her to stores in the Bay Area to buy Christmas presents for less fortunate residents in his city. 

Bill ultimately returned to the San Jose Police Department as the Chief of Police before joining the San Diego Police Department in 2003.

Shortly after being made chief of the San Diego Police Department, Bill stated it had been his lifelong goal to be an SDPD officer. He had long admired and respected the San Diego Police Department for their professionalism and training, so being sworn-in as Chief was a dream come true. 

Since pinning on his SDPD badge, Bill has demonstrated a remarkable work ethic. He routinely wakes at 3 am and is in his office by 5. He rarely goes home before 7 pm. 

As chief, Bill has faced some of the most challenging times in SDPD history. From budgets that are not adequately funded, to officer staffing issues, to seeing officers lose their lives, Bill has had almost every challenge imaginable thrown at him during his eight years as Chief. 

Despite that, Bill has found ways to replace the entire helicopter fleet, provide the newest equipment to his officers, and promote department pride. He has also set high standards for professionalism. And, while holding officers accountable, he also established a wellness program to make sure department members have the coping skills and support mechanisms they need to effectively do their jobs. 

For a police career that has spanned more than 48 years, and for his stellar service as the chief of police of three law enforcement agencies, Bill Lansdowne is awarded the San Diego Police Historical Associations Lifetime Achievement Award.