Friday, December 4, 2009
A Fellow Cop Retires
He's a private guy, so I'll just call him Gary. By the time I joined our police department, he had been there for ten years. He retires this week after thirty years on the job. Before he made the decision to become a law enforcement officer, he courageously served his country as a door gunner in Vietnam, one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army.
When you think of a cop, this is the guy. He's worked patrol, risked his life on a motorcycle as a traffic cop, hunted down burglars and car thieves as a street crimes officer, and solved murders, robberies and scores of other crimes as a detective. Only recently, Gary and a couple of our other officers apprehended a bank robber only a block from the bank, recovering the money, the gun, and making sure not one single innocent person was hurt.
Except for his first few years, he's been a cop at the same police department for his entire career. As he has watched the older officers retire, Gary has mentored the younger cops who followed them. He is respected by his peers, by the citizens he has served, and even by the bad guys he's put in jail.
We will all miss him. I will miss our breakfasts at McDonalds, we will all miss his sense of humor, and the department will never be the same after his departure. We've talked about the fact that one door may be closing, but another will open. There is no doubt he will continue to serve his family and his community in some important way.
Gary reminds me that my own retirement is not far behind. As it was for me in the Army, so shall it be for us old guys at the police department. It is time to turn it all over to the young lions - the new, energetic cops who have followed us into a challenging profession. I'm not ready to go yet, but it won't be that much longer for me either.
Over the years, I have taught soldiers one important thing. Throughout history, there has always been one segment of society who was willing to protect everyone else; one group of men and women willing to stand between the innocents of the world and those who would hurt them. This part of society is the Warrior Class; the soldiers carry the weapons they must use against foreign enemies - the cops carry the guns that must sometimes be used against those who would hurt us here.
Gary has spent his life as a member of the Warrior Class. We should all be thankful for his service. I am grateful for his friendship and for his personal example of what a cop should be.
Godspeed, my friend...
Charles M. Grist