CORNWALL – Cornwall Police Service Sgt. Trevor Butler says the biggest change will come tonight (Monday) when he’s sitting at the dinner table and not getting ready for the night shift.
The 10-7 (out of service) call crackled over the police radio Thursday morning as the sergeant closed his 37 year policing career – almost three decades of it with the Cornwall Police Service.
In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Butler said he’s retiring with mixed emotions. “I’ve been doing it since I’ve been 21 (years old). Walking out today I have mixed emotions. This is my family here. These are the people I see every day and I’m not going to see them all the time like I used to. I’m at the point now in my career, I’m not going to miss the job so much…I’m going to miss the people in the office more than anything.”
“It’s going to feel very strange thinking, I’ll be eating supper with my family, thinking, jeez, I should be at work right now,” Butler mused.
Butler, born and raised in Ottawa, started with the Calgary Police Service in 1982 before coming back to Ontario and settling in with CPS in April 1989 as a police constable. He was promoted to sergeant in 2009. “We’ve been here ever since. We’ve raised our three children here. It’s been our home. I have no plans to leave the city,” he said.
One of Butler’s proudest moments within the service was being one of a trio of men under then-Chief Tony Repa to put together the Cornwall Emergency Response Team (CERT). The other two were Staff Sgt. George Knezevic and Chief Danny Aikman, who was a sergeant at the time. “It’s been 21 years in the making and it’s been very successful. The whole job of police is to protect the public and that’s basically what the team was designed for,” Butler said.
Another accomplishment in his job was helping a woman get out of a case of spousal abuse. Butler had a heart-to-heart talk with the woman after arresting her husband. “When he got out, he breached. She called right away. She did everything I told her she had to do. She’s now married to a guy I know very well. To me, that’s a success story. She came out of an abusive relationship and she took it on, head on, and listened to what I had to tell her to do to protect herself and her daughter. I still see her today, I always talk to her, and that, to me, that’s my crowning moment for me, seeing how well she’s done.”
Butler said working with the Cornwall Police Service, a smaller police force, has given him experience in many areas. He’s been a training officer, a Breathalyzer technician and a coordinator of RIDE programs. He worked a short time in dispatch, plus had a 10 year stint on CERT where he worked up to assistant team leader. He specialized in non-lethal munitions, such as tear gas and bean bags. He also spent 15 months in the Criminal Investigations Division.
But general patrol has been the majority of his career. “I got a really different look through the services over the years I’ve worked in little different areas. It really opens your eyes because sometimes you get stuck in patrol so long you don’t see what other people do and you don’t see the other areas and how important they are and how they affect everything.”
Butler credits working in all those areas for moving up through the ranks, a privilege not normally afforded to officers in bigger cities.
“I’ve had an amazing career. I’ve attained all the goals I’ve could have ever hoped to attain for myself personally knowing where I wanted to be within the organization, so I’m happy that way.”
Butler, 57, plans to spend his retirement in Cornwall with his wife, Maureen, and his three children – two daughters and a son. He is also going to be a grandfather next year. With winter on its way, Butler does plan to spend time at his second home in Arizona. “I don’t want to be doing a lot of shovelling in the winter,” he joked.
“I’ve been privileged to serve the community here for almost 30 years. I’m thrilled that I’m retiring and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”