More transitions. Tonight was the final shift for Sergeant Dave Amon. For every one of our personnel who retire we have a small open house for them so that their co workers, community members, friends and families can come in and say good bye on the last day. They aren’t always sure they want to do it but I talk them into it. All except Sgt. Amon. If you know him, you’ll know that he speaks his mind and he made it clear to me that he intended to walk out the same way as he walked in. He doesn’t like ceremony and being the center of attention. So we had to sneak up on him for a few moments of recognition among his fellow command staff members on Friday afternoon. I ordered him to my office one last time.
The thing you should know is that he will leave a legacy in our department. Friday afternoon as the command group was meeting with him to give him some parting gifts, they told stories and joked about how the stories would live on long after him at this department. But beyond all the jokes, Dave’s legacy will live on here. Whether officers liked him or didn’t like him, they never disregarded him. He is the proverbial cop’s cop in an old school kind of way. When things were happening in the street I always knew where Dave would be–out there making sure things worked as they should. He directed personnel and resources with great instinct and knowledge about what to do in difficult situations. Thursday night I heard him directing officers responding to a house fire on steps that needed to be taken to assist the Fire Department. I frequently told him I never slept so well as when I knew he was in charge of the shift. I knew that our people would be safe and that he was thinking about how best to get the investigation done. I’ve seen a lot of patrol sergeants in my time–but none better than Dave in the field.
Dave did a lot for our department. He started the Honor Guard, built our Use of Force program and was its leader for a long time. He was responsible for directing the use of force training of our entire staff and he raised it to a new level. He helped them understand that while force use is a necessity for the police it is not an end in itself. If it was a mentally unstable person he would remind them that we were on a rescue mission to help a person who could not find help for themselves. He knew the value of a de-escalation of force and how to do it. I once asked him to add an ethics component to our force use training and he immediately found a way to teach officers to stop and think about what they were doing and to check in on their moral compass.
He was conscious of building for the future. Dave trained and mentored officers and new sergeants, several of whom are now lieutenants and one of the deputy directors. He feels strongly about passing along his knowledge as best he could. Dave did a lot to build our department. And his stamp will be on it for a long, long time.
Dave’s dad was also a cop. Dave told me that he has lived with policing his whole life but he’s now ready to be finished. He has another plan now that he has been working on and I can see that he is looking forward to it.
So all that is left to say is – Thanks, Dave. Good Luck.