For 25 years, Phillipsburg Police Officer Brian Berrigan worked hard to protect his community and the people who lived in it. He was dedicated, loyal and true.
So when his son Dean, 26, joined the force and served with his dad for six months, it was an even more rewarding time because he was able to share a career with his own kid.
But finally, the time came when Officer Berrigan decided he was ready to step down. He’d been a police officer for so long that it was not just a job, but a way of life, a life that was filled with the joys of delivering a baby and the stress of responding to emergencies.
When his final shift on the last day of his career as a cop had come to an end, Officer Berrigan badge number 299 sat in the patrol car with his partner seated behind the wheel, waiting for his send-off call to broadcast across the radio.
But instead of a familiar dispatcher’s voice coming across the airwaves, it was his own son. It instantly brought a smile to Officer Berrigan’s face and a lump rose up in his throat.
His son informed him it was an honor to be the one to officially conclude his dad’s career. His dad becomes visibly choked up.
“Twenty-five years ago, you held me in your arms as you graduated from the police academy. Today, we stand side by side as brothers. Today, you receive many thanks. The department thanks you. The people whose lives you have protected and served thank you. And I thank you for being the best role model a son could ask for.”
After hearing that, Officer Berrigan forcefully blows out a puff of air, trying to reign in his emotions. Not only was this his last day, his last few minutes wearing his uniform, but it was beloved son sending him off.
“You are not only my father but you have been my career mentor. It was an honor to serve by your side for the last six months wearing the same uniform. As a fellow officer, I salute you. As your son, I’m going to miss you here. We are all going to miss you.”
The younger Officer Berrigan passionately told his dad that retirement isn’t the end of something great, but the start of something better.
“Retirement doesn’t mean you’re gone. You will always have your Phillipsburg police family. Officer Berrigan, badge number 299, Dad, at 16:37 hours, you have safely reached the finish line. For a final time, go ahead and show yourself clear and off duty.”
Officer Berrigan, Dad, briskly wipes away tears that he couldn’t contain. He silently mutters…
“I don’t know if I can do that.”
The younger Officer Berrigan had one last thing to say.
“Congratulations and I love you. 299 off duty. Love you, too.”
In his final parting words, the elder Officer Berrigan couldn’t believe how difficult that was.
“Well, that was brutal.”
Even though the officer was ending his police career, he won’t stop working that’s for sure. He also happens to be a licensed electrician and will run his own business, LDC Electrical Contractors. He joked that his wife, Dina, had plenty of work for him waiting at home, too.
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