Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tears are tribute to officer

From Daily Republic (Subscription required)
By Carol Bogart Daily Republic

SUISUN CITY - For retiring Suisun City police Sgt. Bob Szmurlo, it has been quite a ride.

At the Dec. 18 meeting of the City Council, Councilwoman Jane Day and City Manager Suzanne Bragdon were among those moved to tears as police dispatcher Amber Kent issued an 'End of Watch' announcement to all units, marking Szmurlo's retirement.

The veteran officer's wife, Leanne, and other family members stood proudly with Szmurlo as Kent read a partial recitation of Szmurlo's achievements.

Szmurlo, 50, joined the department as a reserve officer in 1978 and was hired full time a month after graduating from the police academy in 1980. He was twice named officer of the quarter and earned a promotion to sergeant in 1981. Szmurlo headed Suisun City's marine patrol almost from its inception and field trained two dozen incoming officers.

He's especially proud of his work with youth in connection with Suisun City's DARE program, which he started. Those students, who are now in their 20s, will today stop him on the street to say, 'Hey, you were my DARE instructor!'

Szmurlo was also commander of the SWAT team. Early in his career, there was a 10-year stint in which he served as a police officer and a volunteer firefighter. He first began his career in public safety as an Emergency Medical Technician when he was just 18.

The Fairfield native and 1976 Armijo High School graduate lived in Suisun City for 17 years before moving his family to Vacaville in 1999. The timing of his retirement means he will be home today and enjoy Christmas with his family.

'It'll be nice to not have to worry about being called in and called out,' Szmurlo said.

Szmurlo has passed the baton to his youngest son, Kevin, a police officer in Dixon. His oldest son, Shon, might enter the police academy in March. The Szmurlos also have a daughter, Candice.

The 'End of Watch' announcement noted that Szmurlo imparted his wisdom to many during his 30 years on the force. Eyes misted at Kent's concluding words: 'You have made an indelible mark on this community that will never be erased.'

Reach Carol Bogart at 427-6955 or at

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