Members of the Freeport Police Department and residents gave retiring Officer Daniel Dean a warm send-off as he took his final walk through the halls of the department and Village Hall on March 14.
Dean officially retired after serving the village for 30 years.
“I am just as proud of returning a kid’s bike as I would be chasing down a criminal,” Dean said reflecting on his career in law enforcement.
“It goes without saying that it has truly been my honor and privilege to have served with, in my opinion, some of the finest and most savvy police officers in the nation,” he added. “I have been blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to serve these great citizens in this town, (in) which I’m proud to say I was born and raised.”
Dean was renowned for his unwavering devotion and allegiance to the community. As a field training officer, he played a significant role in training more than 200 young officers, imparting practical skills not taught in the police academy. Many of those officers had the privilege of bidding him farewell during the walkout ceremony.
“I did that for a long time, I trained a lot of officers and I take a lot of pride in that part of my career,” Dean said.
According to Lt. Edward Thompson, Dean’s vast institutional knowledge will be sorely missed. “His retirement will leave a great hole in the department,” Thompson says. “Not just for the officers, but for the public. He is one of a kind.”
Mayor Robert Kennedy praised Dean at the commemoration for his service and wished him success in his future endeavors.
“Officer Dean has been an asset to the community as well as the entire Freeport Police Department,” Kennedy said. “The village residents, businesses and staff will miss his loyalty, dedication and commitment. I wish him continued success in all future endeavors.”
The officer, who comes from a family of police officers, was inspired by his father, a retired New York City sergeant, to pursue a career in law enforcement. He watched his father’s promotion ceremony at Madison Square Garden in 1977 and knew at that moment that he wanted to be a police officer. Dean believes law enforcement is in his blood and takes pride in carrying on his family’s tradition of service.
Reflecting on his long career, Dean noted that he was proud of his time and involvement at Ground Zero. He was among the Freeport officers who volunteered to go to Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11.
Dean reveals that he had personal connections to some of the victims, including a friend who was killed in the attacks. Despite the emotional toll, he and his fellow officers were determined to help in any way. They became part of the “bucket brigade,” sifting through the rubble in search of survivors. Dean admitted that the experience was unforgettable.
“That’s something that you can never forget,” Dean said. “I’m a true patriot and I believe in the country, they don’t forget things and I’ll never forget that and what little we could do.”
One of his favorite memories while on the force, Dean always loved participating in an annual food donation event held in Freeport on Valentine’s Day. He explained that he and his fellow officers would visit senior citizens in the area and provide a nice meal for them.
Dean was also a member of the Freeport PBA and had served on its executive board for over 10 years. As the PBA is a benevolent organization, Dean said they were responsible for a range of activities, such as disciplinary hearings, contract negotiations, and organizing charitable events for the community, all of which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Dean is excited to start the next chapter of his life, which will involve more quality time with his family and indulging in his newly acquired hobbies. Among these hobbies, he has developed a love for golf, woodworking, and boating in the bay. Dean is especially excited about his new boat and spending many hours enjoying the open waters.
Dean hopes that his legacy will be one of service to his community and a commitment to making Freeport a safer place for everyone. He believes that the future of law enforcement lies in building strong relationships with the community and being proactive in addressing the root causes of crime.
“Little did I know when I first started that I was ever going to be a police officer in a town where I was born and raised, which has been a complete dream come true for me,” Dean said.