Dana Richardson said he's going to miss helping people, miss trying to make our community a little bit of a better place to live, which he said is how he saw his job during his 27 years with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
But it's time to do something else with his life, Richardson said during a retirement ceremony this afternoon.
"Deputy Richardson has served the citizens of Genesee County with professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm," said Sheriff Bill Sheron. "He's been a source of pride for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office."
Richardson started his law enforcement career as a corrections officer in the Genesee County Jail but soon transferred to road patrol and during his career, he received two Commendation awards, a Meritorious Service Award, and the Officer of the Year award from the Kiwanis Club of Batavia.
"It's been an enjoyable career," Richardson said. "It's always different, changing every day. I've enjoyed working with the citizens in this county, trying to help people. I just felt like it was time for a change, time to do something else."
He doesn't know what the something else will be yet, but he will do something because he will need to pay for health insurance, he said.
Richardson's wife, Deborah, is a daycare provider, as she was 30 years ago when the couple first met. They have three sons, Nicholas, also a police officer, Jacob, a loss prevention officer, Andrew, a pastor, and a daughter, Holly, a teller at the ESL Federal Credit Union.
Richardson said he understands that a lot of people see cops as people who just want to write tickets and arrest people but that isn't how he sees the job at all.
"Basically, police officers are social workers," Richardson said. "They're people who are there to help people find solutions to their problems. We get to talk to people about what's important to them in their struggles raising their family, their kids. I'm going to miss that interaction with people on a personal level because as police officers we want to try to help people.
"That's why we got into this. It isn't about the arrests. It isn't about the speeding ticket. That's what police are so much known for, but really it's the public interaction and trying to make our community a better place -- that's why we do what we do."
Those are the values about police work Richardson said he learned from his father, who spent 26 years with the Batavia Police Department. He said he was fortunate to work in a department that shared those values, where officers strive to maintain a professional demeanor and attitude.
"We hold ourselves to a higher standard," Richardson said. "We're supposed to be people of integrity. That includes when you're not in the public eye as well as when you are."
Three Generations in law enforcement: Dana Richardson, his father Roger, who is a retired Batavia PD officer, and Nicholas, Dana's son, who is a detective with the Albermarle County Police Department in Virginia.