More than 85 individuals consisting of friends, family, and co-workers gathered at the Bianchi Community Center on Friday, July 12 to bid longtime Oakdale police officer, Sergeant Darren Semore, good-bye and wish him a happy retirement.
“I’m going to miss talking with the people of Oakdale every day and the camaraderie of law enforcement,” Semore said about his departure from a job he’s held for over 26 years. “I’m especially grateful to my co-workers. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have made it.”
During his address to the gathering, Semore made special mention of former police personnel Robert Neep, Dispatcher Cathy Atkinson, and Officer Paul Katuszonek. He reflected how “blessed” he was to have “made it” by retiring when those persons had passed prematurely.
Semore, who turns 50 on July 18, started his law enforcement career as a reserve officer for Turlock P.D., volunteering for two years and, at age 23, was hired as a full-time police officer for the City of Oakdale in 1987. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1998.
Semore said he chose a law enforcement career because of the variety and challenges the profession had to offer.
“There was never going to be the same thing twice,” Semore said. “I wanted something that would be exciting.”
To maintain that level of interest, Semore has held an assortment of assignments including the department’s D.A.R.E. instructor, which he said was the most rewarding.
“Students would send me their graduation announcements from college,” Semore said. “That was amazing.”
Through the years the father of two daughters and grandfather to a new granddaughter said he’s seen many changes but is most alarmed at the lack of respect police officers get from the public compared to when he first started.
Semore recalled special moments in his career, some of them humorous like being the only police officer to pull over a low-flying helicopter with just a police car or the jokes that were played on him when he was a rookie and finding a “pink slip” in one of his first paychecks.
“I knew I was accepted by the department when they started playing jokes on me,” Semore said. “I later found out it was the police chief that played that prank on me.”
Semore spoke very highly of the first police chief he worked for, Dave Sundy.
“Chief Sundy had integrity and knew how to run a department,” Semore said. “He set high marks for us by being a good leader. (Police Chief) Gary Hampton was that way too.”
Most of all, Semore credits his wife of 28 years, Terry, for his success and standing by him.
“She’s been my rock,” Semore said. “I especially wouldn’t be here today without her.”
Semore doesn’t plan to stop working after his “retirement.” He’s already been hired as a business representative for Operating Engineers.