LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -It’s the end of an era for Lawton Police as Deputy Chief James Apple celebrated his retirement after 40 years with the department.
James Apple started his career in Law Enforcement in 1980…and after 40 years, and more than a decade in his current role, he says leaving is harder than he anticipated.
“It’s not so much the job or the building, but definitely the people, and the people are what’s making it a little more emotional," said Deputy Chief Apple.
Throughout his career, he said there were some lows.
“The encounters I’ve had as an officer, those things will always be with me. I try to forget those, but they never go away," said Deputy Chief Apple.
But thankfully, he said a lot more highs.
“The friendships I’ve made, it was through the drug education program, I actually met my wife there. That will definitely have to be a high," said Deputy Chief Apple.
While Apple said he is ready for the next chapter, there is one thing he’s sad to miss.
“To transition into the new facility, that would have been an experience I would have loved to see. I’ll eventually see that happen, but I won’t see it from the inside," said Deputy Chief Apple.
And on his final day, Apple spent it with his successor, William Hines. Last summer, Hines retired as an assistant chief after 30 years with LPD to lead neighborhood services.
“I’m coming in here, people are saying you are taking James’ place. No, I’m not, I’m sitting in his seat, but there’s no way to take his place. He’s teaching me as much as he can in the short time we have," said Hines.
Hines said throughout his career with LPD, Apple served as his supervisor for many of those years, and he’s fortunate he can still lean on him now.
“James of course did the budget, grants, things I really don’t understand at this point. So yeah, it’s a whole other world for me, but ill forget it out, he’s teaching me a lot, and he’ll be on speed dial," said Hines.
Hines will officially begin his new role as Deputy Chief on Monday. There will be a special ceremony for Apple. The original ceremony has been postponed due to COVID-19, and they hope to celebrate his career sometime this summer.