Waco: 'Face' of police department announces retirement

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton is ending a nearly four-decade career. (Courtesy photo)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, after nearly 40 years on the job, announced Thursday he’ll be retiring in a little more than a month.

In a letter Swanton sent to media Thursday morning he wrote: “after nearly forty years with the City of Waco Police Department, my family and I have decided the time is perfect for me to retire!

“Earlier this morning (Thursday) I gave the Chief my notice to retire effective March 27th,” Swanton wrote.

“It has been an honor and a blessing to have served not only the immediate community of Waco and its citizens, but the surrounding communities as well.

“I will take away so many good memories of serving with some of the finest law enforcement officers in the great State of Texas and providing service to the best citizens anywhere.

“Serving as the PIO for our department has been one of the many highlights of my career,” Swanton wrote.

Swanton joined the Waco Police Department as a 19-year-old cadet in October 1980 and the next year completed his certification and was commissioned as a police officer.

He served on the SWAT team from 1990 to 1994 where he worked as a negotiator, speaking with barricaded subjects and talking potentially suicidal people out of harming themselves.

He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1999 and returned to the patrol unit until 2003 when he became supervisor of the family violence unit, then in 2011 moved to department’s public information officer.

He represented the department as national media attention was focused here after the 2013 West Fertilizer Co. explosion that killed 15 and injured hundreds, and the 2015 Twin Peaks shootout in Waco that left nine dead and 20 injured.

He said in a telephone interview the best day he served over all of those years was the day he got to pin a Waco police badge on his daughter Sabrina some six years ago.

“That was the best day,” Swanton said, “the day I got to pin on her badge and watch as she started her career at Waco PD.”

For worst days, he said, there are too many to count.

“My worst days were always when I had to tell one of our citizens that a loved one wasn’t coming home.

“The death of any person is something you never get over.

“It doesn’t matter whether it was a criminal or an older person or a child who got killed in a car wreck, it’s something you can never get over. It stays with you forever.

Swanton isn’t through policing, he’s just moving to the teaching side, working for a national company that specializes in preventing domestic violence and child sexual assaults.

The letter’s closing was pure Pat Swanton: “Stay safe, live well, and be important in someone’s life.”