Officer Dick Williams salutes at the 2019 Homecoming Parade in Olive Hill. (Photo by Daneyl Tackett)

After over 20 years at the Olive Hill Police Department and more than two decades of work in other states and overseas, officer Dick Williams retired at the end of June at the age of 81.

Although he began his career as just another job, being an officer changed its meaning over time for Williams, from a title to a way of life.

“If you make the decision that ‘Yeah, this is for me. This is what I want to do,’ from that point on, it’s an insidious, unrecognized ailment,” said Williams. “But, after the years go by, it stops being what you do, and it slowly becomes what you are.”

Williams remembered watching the change in police officers from the time he first began at a different department in 1979 until he retired, and said that there has been a transition from officers working with only the dregs of society to working with society as a whole, and that gives the officer a better view on what they’re working for.

His favorite part of being an officer was working with kids and making an impact on their lives.

“When you’re standing in Walmart and some guy you don’t even recognize comes up and says ‘Hey, Officer Dick, do you remember me?’ and you haven’t got a clue who it is, but he says ‘I was in (a third grade class.) You came and talked to us about seatbelts. I want you to meet my little boy,’ you realize the sun’s still gonna come up over there and go down over there but by god, you touched somebody. That’s what makes it worth the while,” he said.

Before he became a police officer, Williams had a different life, including working in professional security and being an expatriate citizen in the middle east and far east.

In retirement, his two hopes are to see Tibet and to ride a train in Russia that stretches from the west side of the country to the east.

“The only thing I regret is that I’m just too damn old to do it all over again,” said Williams.