Well-earned retirement

Published 8:17 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

When a 32-year veteran of any organization decides to retire, it’s a big deal for that organization. The loss of institutional knowledge, experience and leadership can be a major blow. When the retirement at issue takes place within a city’s police department, it marks a day of celebration and sadness, of commemoration and contemplation.

That’s what kind of day it was on Friday at the Suffolk Police Department, as Maj. Larry Wilson cleared his desk and left behind pretty much the only job he’s ever known as an adult. Maj. Wilson joined the department at the age of 19 while he was in the midst of taking classes on police science at Tidewater Community College. His instructor told the class one day that Suffolk was hiring police officers, and Wilson dropped off an application that very afternoon.

On Friday, 32 years after handing in that application, Maj. Wilson became a civilian again. The career he built — patrol officer, canine handler, narcotics officer, precinct captain and then administrative command — is one worthy of all the honor and respect his fellow officers have shown for him. He saw and took part in nearly every type of police work available to a Suffolk officer, and he did it well, judging by the positive comments of his peers.


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As evidence of the kind of man Maj. Wilson is, colleagues talk about the time in the 1980s when he grabbed the barrel of a gun that had been pointed at his face in a convenience store. But he is characteristically eager to credit them for the support he says they’ve given him through the years.

“I’ve worked with some amazing people,” he said last week. “All the people that work in the administrative command are incredibly capable. They made the last couple of years of my career just delightful.”

After 32 years on the city’s police force, Maj. Wilson has earned a bit of time to relax. We wish him well in retirement and hope he knows how much Suffolk appreciates and will miss his service.