Farewell to the Family


On September 21, 2012 I worked my last official day as a Portland police officer. Tradition dictates a PD luncheon/sendoff where plaques are presented, speeches are made, and good wishes are bestowed. It is an emotional time for both the retiree and those remaining on the job. In typical writer fashion, I had prepared and practiced giving my final remarks. Those who know me know that I enjoy public speaking. I thought this final speech to my coworkers would be easy—after all, I had witnessed many of my brethren take part in the same ceremonial last lunch. I was wrong. In the end, I was forced to wing it. The words I had written were simply too full of emotion to be spoken aloud.


The other day, while cleaning my writing studio, I came across that final speech—the one never made—and I have decided to share it with you, resisting the urge to edit it. So here it is, warts and all, my farewell to the family:

I have given a great deal of thought to what I would say to all of you today. Well, after much consideration… I’ve got nothing.

No. Seriously, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of your family for the past 27 years. I have always considered being a police officer as who I am not just what I do. I’m still not sure how that much time could have passed so quickly, but it has. They say that this job, and the experiences that come with it, change a person. Well, after nearly three decades I can say with a certainty that it has changed me, but I believe for the better.


I have made friendships and memories, that will last me the rest of my life. I have seen and done things that others, outside of this profession, can only imagine. I have experienced first hand the best and worst that society has had to offer. I enjoyed the opportunity to play a small role in the honorable calling that is, law enforcement.


I want to thank my entire family for their unwavering support and for instilling in me the values that made me want to become a police officer in the first place. I couldn’t have succeeded without you. More specifically, I want to thank my wife, Karen for believing in me and in this way of life, for putting up with the late night and weekend call ins, the missed holidays and family get togethers that you had to attend solo. Thank you for always understanding and for always being there.


And finally, I want to thank all of you for your service, your professionalism, and your friendship. It has truly been my pleasure to work along side each of you. I may go on to work at a different career, in a different venue, but I will always consider each of you part of my family and I will always consider myself a Portland Police Officer.

Thank you.


About Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce is a retired detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine's largest city. Bruce also spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, where he earned the Director's Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive. He is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mystery Series from HarperCollins. His short stories appear in a number of anthologies including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. Bruce lives and writes in Maine.
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5 Responses to Farewell to the Family

  1. Gram says:

    Now I wish you would write what you did say. I come from a family with many policemen. Yes it is another family and isn’t that great.

  2. Andrea Lee says:

    Bruce you were always kind, considerate, thankful, have to add best dressed of all the officers I had the pleasure of working with at court. All your fellow officers were always a pleasure to wait on at THE WINDOW in District Court. You should be proud of the service you gave to the City of Portland ! You were a pleasure to know and help getting warrants ready for the bad guys. Very patient as I read your report to find probable cause lol. Always put a smile on my face as you stood at that window, well-dressed, that smile. Will always be thankful for the opportunity to know and work with one of Portland s finest. You have also successfully started a new chapter with your Det.Byron series. So happy for all you accomplish in your life. Stay safe good friend ! Andrea.

  3. Barbara Ross says:

    What a lovely speech. I’m so glad you kept it and shared it.

  4. sandy says:

    Yes, me too. Ditto. The speech.
    Think is says soooo much about you. And perhaps your stories as well.

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