Today marks both an ending and a beginning. Officer Tracy Brydges retired after 25 years of dedicated service and today was her last day “in the office.” If you’ve been around this town very long I’m sure you know Officer Brydges. She started with us as a dispatcher and put herself through college so she could become a police officer.
I can’t talk about Tracy without mentioning her great sense of humor. You might remember the time she talked all the business owners in town who had message signs into putting a message on their sign to wish happy birthday to a fellow officer on his 50th birthday. I remember coming to work on my 50th to find a big blow up U of M Wolverine in my office (I’m a Sparty, remember?) Or when she contacted my son so she could sneak a surprise Christmas present under my tree (a U of M tee-shirt–ick!). Or a trip to Florida for another department member to a conference for senior citizens on her birthday. Or when she organized the removal of all of the furniture from the Deputy Chief’s office on his birthday. Or when she let a new officer call her by the wrong name for a year. There is a never-ending supply of these stories around here. We’re all going to be the poorer for not having Tracy among us. Sometimes the things we do are dark and depressing. It helps to have some good-natured fun(never mean-spirited like some practical jokers) which always characterized Tracy’s activities.
Throughout her career Tracy could always be counted upon. She cares about the people in this community and acted upon it. She supported community events, she helped out at the Boys and Girls Club. In addition to her patrol duties, she made sure our mobile computers always worked. We count on them and we don’t really have technical support personnel so we use sworn staff to maintain that kind of equipment. We did not have to follow-up on her jobs–she did it right the first time. She arrested bad guys, she patrolled on a bike, she helped people when they needed help. Doing her job to the best of her ability was important to her. On her last day, the lieutenant had to order her off the road for a small coffee and cookie party we were hosting for her–she was still taking calls. On the last day we also do a “walk out.” We invite our fellow City employees to join us in lining the hallway from our staircase to the door on the last day. We give them a round of applause and there isn’t a dry eye in the place.
So this an ending for one part of Tracy’s life. But it is the beginning of the next phase. I’m not sure what that will be but I do know it will include golf. Whatever it is, I know that she will do it with her whole being–just like she did this job.
Thanks, Tracy, for all you gave us. Good luck in all your new ventures.