Retiring from duty: Bremer devoted 32 years to the city

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 24, 2005

Special to the News-Herald

Retiring from 32 years of service to the city of Suffolk, Special Investigator A.P. Bremer Jr. was not only roasted, but also toasted by those who shared his professional life and times.

It seems as though Bremer’s profession was laid out for him by his mother when she named him. His initials alone, APB, were the indicators that marked his life as a member of law enforcement. He’s served in many capacities and now he’s stepping back and taking a deep breath, one that he needed following the recent retirement party in his honor.

Email newsletter signup

His former Police Chief Gilbert &uot;Spud&uot; Jackson and his current &uot;boss,&uot; Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson attended the party along with Sheriff Raleigh H. Isaacs Sr., who had been Bremer’s police captain at one time. Current Chief of Police, William A. Freeman, who had served &uot;undercover&uot; with Bremer in the narcotics unit was also on hand to watch as Bremer received accolades for his professionalism as well as his friendship.

Sharing the night of honor with Bremer’s friends was his two sons, Jimmy and his wife Theresa, and Ricky and his wife, Becka. The laughter that swelled throughout Randy and Robin Brock’s &uot;Celebrations Clubhouse,&uot; erupted time and again as the people who knew Bremer best talked about their years of serving as police officers by his side. A man of daunting stature, Bremer’s sense of humor was considered by those who worked with him as a plus in a career that all too often puts officers in the vilest of incidents.

Now seasoned veterans of the police department, or retirees, they talked about his service as a young rookie just out of the U.S. Army where he’d served in Korea as a military police officer.

Retired police Capt. Bill Cochran told about his days as a rookie with Bremer serving as his field-training officer. It seems the FTO always had some golden nugget of information to impart to the rookie.

&uot;Big Al – that’s what everybody called him – asked me what’s the most important thing a beat cop can learn,&uot; Cochran quipped at the party. &uot;He told me; don’t let your uniform get wet and walk on the shady side of the street when the sun is shining and on the sunny side when it’s cold.&uot;

Of course there was plenty of old &uot;Al-isms&uot; tossed around that night, but there were also a vast assortment of statements of appreciation for the more serious side of policing that Bremer had taught his rookies. Suffolk Attorney Michael D. Eberhardt also spoke about his former FTO, Bremer.

He told of how he was trained to become a valuable part of law enforcement under Bremer’s watchful eye. In fact, it was his tenure as an officer that led Eberhardt to pursue a law degree. Retired Police Capt. Richard Hurd also described Bremer as a professional, but also as a man given to fun and good times when it was appropriate. He talked about the experiences they’d shared and laughed over during their parallel careers.

Hurd also noted that Bremer’s retirement would be a great loss to the people of Suffolk and the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office. Freeman also spoke about serving under Bremer who was his field-training officer way back then.

&uot;He taught me some of the most important things I’ve learned as a police officer,&uot; said Freeman. &uot;He was always a professional and always fair with everyone. His departure is a great loss to the city and the people of Suffolk as well. He always looked out for the people.&uot;

As Bremer completed his career, he spent 10 years with Ferguson and his staff. The Commonwealth’s attorney spoke in glowing terms of the manner of his special investigator’s skills and professionalism.

&uot;Al was truly a great asset to my office and he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge, along with plenty of maturity and a great attitude when he came on as special investigator,&uot; said Ferguson. &uot;His service to the city of Suffolk and the people of this city is marked with excellence and he’s taken great pride in serving them. He will be greatly missed in our office and by others he works with in the city.&uot;

When Bremer spoke, he said he’d given a couple months consideration to what he would say. He said he wondered how he’d arrived at the point in his life where so many people would come to honor him. He credited God with taking care of him during his law enforcement career as well as his 10-years of service as special investigator to the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Bremer began his career in 1972, with the late Police Chief Jesse Harrell. When Bremer joined the department, it was the old Suffolk Police, prior to the 1974 merger of the city with Nansemond County. Bremer was named &uot;Police Officer of the Year&uot; twice; once in 1979, and again in 1990.

Early on in his career with Suffolk, he served as one of the city’s first motorcycle officers and he was one of the first field-training officers in the department. He worked uniform patrol for several years, serving as one of the city’s first traffic officers until he was assigned to the special investigations (narcotics division) unit and in 1978, he began his service as a police detective.

Bremer’s background in investigative services is extensive, and he served as lead detective on some of the most heinous crimes that ever occurred in the city. When Bremer was first assigned to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, it was for a two-year stint. He accepted the position when Isaacs left to make a successful run for Sheriff of the city of Suffolk.

After Bremer’s first two years of investigative services proved such a success for Ferguson and his team of prosecutors, the Commonwealth’s attorney requested that Bremer be permanently assigned to his office. Bremer finished out his career as special investigator on Dec. 31. As for his retirement, looking at Bremer’s past it would seem unlikely that he will leave the law enforcement community entirely.

In fact, he’s going to begin working as a deputy sheriff for his old friend, Isaacs, beginning in March. As for now, Big Al, is content to think about nothing other than his good friends, some like the late Police Officer Mike Simpkins, who shared so much with him.

Of course, Bremer is also looking forward to fishing off the beach in Nags Head this spring. As for the retirement party, Bremer said he owes the Commonwealth’s attorney’s Community Outreach Coordinator Diana Klink for one of the best parties he’s ever attended.

Considering the sumptuous meal, Bremer’s favorite music of the 1960s, and the great d\u00E9cor in the Brock clubhouse, it was a fantastic sendoff for an old soldier.