By Jennifer McRae

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The Lakewood Police Department is mourning the loss of retired Lakewood Police Chief Ron Burns. Burns led the department for six years.

Ron Burns (credit: Lakewood Police)

Burns began his 35-year law enforcement career in Tempe, Ariz. and rose through the ranks before he was selected to lead the Kirkland, Washington Police Department as their chief. He then returned to the Tempe Police Department as their chief of police. Burns took a break from law enforcement before returning to lead the Lakewood Police Department in 2001.

“Chief Burns’ legacy will include an uncompromising pledge to the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, outstanding leadership, and an unfailing loyalty and commitment to serving the citizens of Lakewood. He will be remembered as a charismatic and humble man, who left every organization he was part of better than he found it,” the Lakewood Police Department issued in a statement. “Our hearts are with Chief Burns’ family at this unimaginable time. Thank you for your service Chief. We have the watch from here.”

Burns was 71 years old. He died after a battle with cancer.

Jennifer McRae