The longtime Fort Collins police sergeant who was a plaintiff in last year's lawsuit claiming that city police superiors discriminated against minority officers has retired.

Patrol Sgt. Francis Gonzales joined Fort Collins Police Services in 1981. Known by coworkers and friends as "Paco," he worked beats across the city during his 35 years on the force, earning accolades from the department and bolstering rapport within the community — especially among at-risk youth and vulnerable populations.

At one point roughly 20 years ago, when he was an officer on the department's gang unit, Gonzales teamed up with a plastic surgeon to help kids get tattoos removed in hopes of helping them cut gang connections.

The Coloradoan chronicled the effort at the time. Gonzales, now 60, has repeatedly appeared in the newspaper over the years, serving at times as an agency spokesman at emergency scenes across Fort Collins.

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