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OPP Staff Sgt. retires, runs for office

Friends and family joined dignitaries, co-workers and community members in wishing Prince Edward County Ontario Provincial Police Staff Sgt. Bernie Gaw a grand retirement from policing and a favourable entrance into politics.
The well-wishers who filled the dining room at Isaiah Tubbs Friday afternoon learned Gaw has no plans for a quiet retirement as he’s officially become a candidate for South Marysburgh ward for October’s municipal election.
It would be interesting to see “back-to-back actors” as councillors in South Marysburgh, noted Robert Quaiff, of the PEC Police Services Board. “Seriously, Bernie has been a good teacher and has taught me a lot over the years.
Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis, who presented Gaw with a Commissioner’s Citation, Badge and Warrant Card, noted they first met in 1999 during Y2K planning. Bernie had joined the OPP in 1975 and in 2000 became detachment commander at Prince Edward County.
“I will always remember Bernie for the way he treated people and for his support. He was there for them. How you treat people in good times and bad is how people will remember you…people may not remember your name or rank, but they’ll always remember how you treated them.”
In recognition of Gaw’s 35 years of service, Superintendent Leo Sweeney presented retirement certificates from Dalton McGuinty and MPP Leona Dombrowsky. Retired colleague and friend, Ken Campbell, presented a certificate from MP Daryl Kramp. County councillor Peggy Burris presented a County plaque and heartily welcomed the idea of the two of them on the next municipal council, should they both gain seats.
Provincial Constable Lorraine Aylesworth, of the Ontario Provincial Police Association branch, presented plaques and a watch to both Bernie, and his wife, Suzanne.
His children, Amy, Adam and Allison presented a humorous glimpse into what it’s like to be a police officer’s child. Brenda Dewey presented a bouquet of flowers to Suzanne.
The day’s emcee, retired officer Stewart Westhead, read a letter from long-time friend Roy Weckworth, who was unable to attend the gathering. He also presented the James Lumbers painting ‘Times Change OPP’.
Gaw thanked the crowd for being at his retirement party.
The standard line when applying to join the police department, he said,
is “because ‘I want to help people.’ I joined because I was sick of meeting them at 2 a.m. on the side of the road and figured it was easier to join them.
“I looked around the room and see an eclectic cross section of people of our community. I’ve worked very hard at that,” Gaw said. “We’ve been asked if we’re staying in Prince Edward County. I tell them I’ve lived here since the turn of the century. It’s our home and we’re staying.”
Bancroft OPP’s detachment commander, Staff Sergeant Barry Freeburn assumed duties in the County on May 31st.

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