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Palo Alto sergeant bows out after storied career

Original post made on Jul 7, 2009

He launched his career by catching the College Terrace rapist and spent the next 30 years building sources, patrolling Palo Alto streets and racking up friends and awards. On Monday night, police Sgt. John Costa triumphantly ended his tenure at the Palo Alto Police Department with three rounds of standing ovation from friends and colleagues.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 7, 2009, 6:16 AM

Comments (27)

Posted by Sue and Lou
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:23 am

Our family sends our thanks and very best wishes to Officer Costa for many years of excellent work!
Enjoy your retirement!

Posted by Megan McCaslin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:33 am

John has been the face of the Palo Alto Police department for our neighborhood for many years. He always made himself available to all of us and I will miss him, his good humor, and his willingness to engage. Good luck, John.

Posted by Sylvia Smitham
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

I wish John and his family a long and Happy life with a very
big Thank you for all the years he served Palo Alto with great kindness and compassion. We will miss you John. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Posted by The Goumas Clan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:09 am

Our star gazing will be less bright without you there. We love you and look forward to many years of friendship. Thanks for keeping watch over us. Yasou from Greece! We will see you soon. God bless you!

Posted by anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:23 am

Johnny C... There is a spot waiting for you in Palo Alto North... you know where that is... Cmon!

Posted by pat boone
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:27 am

I Will miss Him, I remember the good old days. As a teenager growing up in Palo Alto. During the early 80s. I had a few run ins with him. Mostly trying to out run him on my BMX. I also remember him shuting down some good parties in my day.
For under age drinking.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:37 am

John Costa - a very good man. He'd always check on our house when we're out on vacation. Old school in the best sense.

Posted by Oldtimer
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

John Costa is truly a "Good Guy."

Posted by Jane and Ken Kershner
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

Sorry we couldn't join you for the wonderful ceremony at City Hall last night, John. You are an incredible role model and we are honored to know you. You have made a huge difference to our family and our children have a relationship with the Palo Alto police because of your leadership, charisma and straight-forward manner. Good luck with all of your future endeavors. We hope to cross paths with you in the future.

Posted by Thank you, John!
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

You helped me out when my car was stolen & our interactions ever after were warm & memorable. You were so apologetic for not being able to catch the bad guys, but wowza, your team gave it your all!

Palo Alto was a better city w/you working it, and you'll be much missed. Thanks for being able to put up w/all the ridiculous bs through the years; you always kept your eyes on the goal, which was to protect & serve.

I know you'll pass on your knowledge & mentor young officers. Enjoy your retirement!

Posted by Kumar
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Great job John. Best regards and wishes.

Posted by Old Pro Vet
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm

John Costa was the coolest cop I've ever met. A true man of integrity and the most approachable person to ever wear the uniform. I just wish there were more like him. Good luck in your future endeavors!

Posted by TRACY
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

John Costa is one of the finest Sergeants and Officers I have ever met and had the pleasure of serving with. He is the standard by which we all should hold ourselves. He has always been there when situations required leadership, knowledge and the ability to remain calm under fire. As a resident and an Officer with an allied agency, I will miss hearing his voice over the radio when I call for help. Thank you John.


Posted by Lisa Provenzano
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm


Congratulations on an amazing career, being the best of the best and setting the bar high. I am proud to know you and call you my friend. Cheers to a wonderful retirement, it is your time to relax and enjoy your family and friends! We love you Johnny! Rick and Lisa

Posted by Drew Currie
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Sergent Costa is the most amazing, most effective public servant I've ever met. Best wishes on your retirement and I hope our paths cross again. You will be missed by so many!

Posted by JP
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I wish I would have known yesterday's event at the council chambers before. I worked for Sgt. Costa for many years at the PD and can honestly say that he was the best supervisor I have ever had there, or at any job. I wonder if he got his retirement wish! Good luck Sarge!

Posted by susanMD
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Best wishes, John!


Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:46 am

Wish I knew about the ceremony earlier, I would have loved to be there. I had the pleasure of meeting Sgt. Costa only once, over a good ole' American hot dog at 2 in the morning. But in that short time, he came across as a very kind-hearted, experienced professional who genuinely cared about the work he was doing. Best of luck to you, Sgt., and thank you for your service to our city.

Posted by Thanasis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2009 at 9:55 am

Congratulations! Thanks for all you've done! Espresso is waiting for you any time you want! Ciao!!!

Posted by Phil
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2009 at 10:37 am

Never has the good/bad fortune to meet him, but he sure sounds like a tribute to the force and to the community he served. I hope there are more like him.

Posted by Karen and Jekara
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2009 at 11:18 am

John! We'll miss ya! Good luck in new things to come :)

Posted by Italo
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Buona Fortuna!

Posted by Michele Costanza
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2009 at 12:07 am

John, The reaction of the community at your send off and in these comments are a tribute to your amazing character. Your sincere respect and love for everyone you encountered was felt by all. I'm proud to be your sister-in-law and excited that we have you home more often now (at least for a little while)Love you, Michele

Posted by Kathy Heitkemper
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

John, congratulations on your well deserved retirement. Our family is so proud of all you have accomplished in your career. I know you will be missed by everyone in Palo Alto. We have fond memories of meeting so many in that community when we visited you. You will be a great mentor for the future police force in your community. Stay safe and well. We love you.

The Heitkempers

Posted by Linda Mendel
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Congratulations, John. I clearly remember the wonderful time we (your wife, your sister-in-law Kathy,and her three friends) had visiting the San Francisco sites with you as our tour guide. It is a wonderful memory that I will always cherish. Enjoy your retirement and be proud of all of your achievements in law enforcement.
Linda Mendel (close friend of Kathy and Tim Heitemper)

Posted by Frank and Kathy Fanger
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

Dear John,
What an incredible outpouring of thanks and respect from your department and community! It must have been overwhelming to see so many people give such a rousing response to the kind of integrity, service and 'heart' you gave to the community for 30 years.

We always knew you were/are a great guy, but this tribute points to your goodness even more. Our world needs more people like you, who work hard and truly care about the people they serve.

Congratulations on your retirement and God bless you in the years ahead.
Enjoy your well-deserved summer off.

Frank and Kathy Fanger

Posted by Guido Fatcine Banutza
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

Uncle John,
You are most awesome my friend. The above article is an understatement on many accounts. You are a great advisor who has helped and inspired many and beyond that a great radio personality. Thank you so much for being my consiglieri over the many years, Banutza

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