The Durant Police Department decorated its lobby on Friday with the photos of former police chiefs and retired officers and employees to honor the past.
Friday morning, 14 retired sworn officers, five retired civilian employees, 20 former police chiefs and current Chief Durward Cook were honored during a ceremony in appreciation to those who have served the department.
Each honoree or a representing family member or officer took a framed photo as each name was called.
The photos were placed on the walls of the Durant Police Department lobby where they will be a permanent reminder of the dedication shown by each of those who have served.
“I think any organization is made up of the influence and dedication of the people who came before. I think it’s important to recognize that,” said Chief Cook.
Mayor Jerry Tomlinson and City Manager Jim Dunegan spoke to attendees at the ceremony.
“I feel like we have one of the best police departments in the nation,” said Dunegan. Tomlinson agreed, saying the Durant Police Department is second to none.
Tomlinson commended those who serve on the force for the dedication they have to the city.
“You truly have to have a servant’s heart,” said Tomlinson, explaining that it takes a special kind of dedication and compassion to protect the citizens of the community.
Jack Jones who served as chief from 1985 to 2001, was present for the ceremony.
“I was glad to serve the city of Durant,” said Jones.
He said this ceremony is important because city pride is an important thing to have.
Craig Sweeten is the youngest son of former chief Lowell Sweeten. His father served as chief from 1974 to 1980 and was the first person to retire from the Durant Police Department.
“If anyone was dedicated to the Durant Police Department it was my dad,” said Sweeten. He recalled how his father pushed for new police vehicles and walked the streets patrolling without a car because the department only had one.
He spoke of the pride his father had in the department, saying it meant a lot to the family for his father to be honored and it would mean a lot to him if he were still alive.
- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 634-2162 or on Twitter @jbreger_news