EASTON, Conn. -- Officer Gary Csanadi remembers driving around with a new officer when he got a call about a duck frozen to a pond.
"I took warm water and swooshed it on the duck," said Csanadi. "The new officer asked, 'Is this what police work is all about?' And I said, 'Yes, yes it is.' "
Csanadi recently retired from the Easton Police Department after 37 years of service. His last day was July 7, but he will stay on as a special officer, working when the department needs an extra hand or directing traffic.
"I grew up in Easton. I went to school here, graduated from Joel Barlow High School, I like the town," said Csanadi.
When he started, there were only six officers and no ranking structure besides the chief. Only one officer was on duty at a time; now there are two or three. Today, there are 16 officers. There is a captain, two lieutenants and two sergeants. When he first became an officer, there were only three rooms in the department; now there is a large facility on the bottom floor of town hall. There are more roads and more developments in town since he started, which means more areas to patrol and more people to serve. That wasn't always what being an officer was about for Csanadi.
"Here, it's more helping people than making an arrest. I got involved with some investigations, but it's mostly a service-oriented department," he said.
In the beginning, Csanadi also had to handwrite all his reports, which are now filed electronically.
The equipment has also changed officers now carry Tasers and each car has a defibrillator.
Csanadi came to the department shortly after Capt. James Candee did.
"We grew up together in Easton. It's hard for me to believe he's retired and I'm still here time goes by fast," said Candee. "I'm happy for him. We're going to miss him here he's leaving a hole. There's a lot of things he did here. ... The door's always open for him to come in."
Csanadi remembered a call for suspicious people at a residence one Sunday afternoon. When he got there, three people were breaking into a house. Two of the guys ran into the woods, while the third, who had a bodycast over three-fourths of his body, stayed.
"Naturally, I caught him no problem," said Csanadi.
Csanadi said he will miss being with his fellow police officers. "They're all good people. I built a lot of good friendships over the years. We kid with each other, and when it comes to getting the job done, we work together," said Csanadi.
Csanadi plans to relax and travel during his retirement, and stay healthy.
A retirement party is planned for Aug. 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Stone Barn at Whitney Farms, 175 Shelton Road, Monroe. The price is $45 per person, which includes a gift. There will be a buffet-style dinner with a cash bar. For tickets, contact Tamra French or dispatcher Tara Candee at 203-268-4111, or Officer Mark Pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org . Checks can be made out to Easton PBA. RSVP by Aug. 14.
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