Today, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of being a part of something very cool. But first, let me explain a little something about camaraderie. The world English dictionary defines camaraderie as “a spirit of familiarity and trust existing between friends”. It is derived from the French word for comrade. I saw camaraderie and brotherhood on display this morning.
There is a strong familial tie in the world of cops. There are strong ties between units within the LEO world. I have never seen a stronger bond within a subset of law enforcement than what I experience as a Motor.
Today marked the end of a career for a local jurisdiction’s motor officer. He was assigned as a Motor for 21 of his 26 (I think I got the 26 right…) years. He graduated from the CHP motor school in 1989 (I was in high school…couldn’t resist) and never looked back. He discovered what I discovered four years ago…we have the greatest gig going.
This morning at 0630, 12 (six to a side) of us from four different jurisdictions lined up in front of his house, stood at attention, and saluted him as he rode out of his garage for his final day as a Cool Guy. His family stood by snapping photos and I hope we made them proud. We then escorted him from his home to his PD. Halfway through our journey, Fire jumped in (my Dad’s old station, thank you very much!). As we entered the downtown area, all the lights came on and we gave him the send off he deserved.
After the procession, we all had some coffee and bagels while we shared stories. Now, I’ve been around retirement farewells before. There’s the typical cake and/or plaque and some quick anecdote about that one time the retiree did something stupid and everyone laughs. I’m here to tell you there is something different when it’s a Motor.
You won’t see a procession of cars for when a beat cop retires. You typically don’t travel to a different state and see a fellow detective and feel an instant kinship. Hell for that matter, you don’t usually see a SWAT guy have a twitter/facebook account and interact with other SWAT guys. In my experience, there is something different (perhaps odd) about us Motors.
I was so very happy to have been a part of a procession that didn’t involve a hearse. I was thrilled to be included in such a positive expression of appreciation and gratitude for a job well done. It’s one thing to be noticed by the citizenry at large or even a supervisor. It is something altogether different, and I’ll even say more special, when it comes from colleagues.
Congratulations on your retirement, Kris. I’m proud to have been a small part of today. Believe me when I tell you I am aiming at the bar you set for longevity on a Motor. You’re an inspiration, sir.