As a young man, Tim Hayes had every intention of being a firefighter. Born and raised in Chili, he got an associates degree in fire protection technology, but then found paid firefighting jobs were few and far between, so just for the heck of it he took the police exam.
That opened the door to a 30-year career in law enforcement, most of it spent with Le Roy PD.
This month, Hayes closes the curtain on that career and becomes a school bus driver.
Hayes said the recent death of Deputy Frank Bordonaro caused him to reflect on the length of his career and the fact that sticking around longer wouldn't do much to increase his pension.
Law enforcement, he said, isn't very conducive to family life, especially as a sergeant and second in command.
"You can never get away," he said. "Your phone rings at night, it rings on weekends, it rings while you're on vacation. There's good benefits. It pays well. I've met a lot of interesting people, and I've had a chance sometimes to have an impact on people's lives, but it's not a family friendly schedule."
Hayes is married to Trish and they have two adult sons -- Eric, 21, a corrections officer at the jail, and Dan, 19, who is studying to be an astrophysicist.
The most memorable part of his career, Hayes said, accounts for only about 1/30th of it -- the year he spent working undercover for the Local Drug Task Force.
"You get a chance to see things you never see in uniform," he said. "I can remember being in houses for undercover buys and the kids were right there and mom and dad were puffing a crack pipe. They would sell their soul if it was another $20 for the next rock they were going to buy.
"You see what people will do to score that next hit and it makes you wonder if there isn't a better answer, because it ensnares them and they can't get out," Hayes added.
Working undercover also changed the way he dealt with people, Hayes said. As an undercover agent, he grew his hair out into a ponytail and had a Fu Manchu moustache. He looked bad. He looked mean. Even if he was the same nice guy he's always been. People would cross the street to avoid crossing his path.
"My son was sick and in the hospital and I came to find out that they were going to have security come and check me out when I went in to visit him," Hayes recalled.
It's an old lesson, but one Hayes said stuck with him. You can't judge a book by its cover.
"That's what I tried to take forward," Hayes said. "I really didn't care what you looked like, I could still treat you politely and professionally until you give me a reason not to, and then I would do what I needed to do. Just because somebody looks a certain way, you have no idea what's on the inside."