After 30 years with the Newport Beach Police Department, crime prevention specialist Kathy Lowe is retiring Thursday.
Lowe joined the department in 1983 as a parking control officer, issuing citations at 19 years old, before becoming the department's first crime prevention specialist in 1997.
"I honestly feel so honored to work here," Lowe said. "I have nothing but great memories. It's been an incredibly wonderful journey."
Since 1998, Lowe has helped initiate the Citizens' Police Academy — which aims to help the public understand police operations — neighborhood watch programs throughout the city and several volunteer programs for the department.
"She looks after the volunteers like they're members of her family," said Andi Querry, who works with Lowe in crime prevention. "It's not her job; she just does it because she cares so much for people and that's who she is."
Lowe has served as the department's official spokeswoman since June 2011.
Taking over Lowe's duties will be Jennifer Manzella, a former community services officer who has been with the Newport Beach Police Department for 10 years. Among her various roles, Manzella has served in planning and research, financial management and the records and identification.
"We're starting the passing of the torch [this week], but I've been training for the last month," Manzella said.
Lowe and her husband, Newport Beach Police Sgt. Jerry Lowe, who retired in April 2011, have been married for 20 years.
"He's very excited about it," Lowe said. "He's been waiting for an opportunity for me to retire. Life is short and we have to realize that we need to take time for our families and what's important to us."
The Lowes plan on splitting their time between their home and traveling in their motor home. The couple have a trip planned for Hawaii in the fall and also hope to take a road trip across the country.