By MARY RAINWATER
“A man who always had your back.”
It was a common phrase heard Friday at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office on Friday as officers gathered to celebrate the retirement of longtime reserve officer Richard Farris Sr.
Farris, 73, has booked 38 years as a reserve officer, first for the Palestine Police Department in 1972 and then for the ACSO, a position he has held since the mid 1980s.
In addition to refreshments and story-swapping, Sheriff Greg Taylor presented a plaque and honorary ID badge to Farris.
“Farris’ many years of service has saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars in overtime, filling in for our officers who are unable to work and on holidays,” Taylor said. “It is something most people don’t think about. The citizens owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Farris was first sworn in as a reserve officer for the Palestine Police Department by then-mayor Jack Rogers in May of 1972.
“It was the city’s first reserve force for the city,” he said. “The police chief at the time was Jay Buck, a retired Texas Ranger.”
He worked at the city for eight years, he said, before moving on to serve with the short-lived Elkhart Police Department, lead by current Justice of the Peace James Todd.
“That was about 4 to 5 months,” Farris said. “It wasn’t long at all.”
After that time, Farris began his work with the sheriff’s department, remaining there until his retirement.
“I have worked under three sheriffs — Mickey Hubert, John Hopkins and current sheriff Greg Taylor,” Farris said. “I have enjoyed working with all the other officers and just being part of the excitement of law enforcement.
“I turn 74 next month,” he said about his reasons for retirement. “I just felt I wasn’t as capable of taking care of myself on the street as I used to be.”
One of the stories shared on Friday included one regarding the guarding of bones in a local park.
“They had found some bones in Davey Dogwood Park and we were taking turns guarding them,” Farris recalled. “It was very spooky out there. I think I had my lights on during the entire shift.
“There are a lot of good memories to fall back on,” he said. “I want to thank you all for everything.”
Farris, a self-employed local businessman, plans to stay active in the community and spend time with his wife of 39 years, Beverley. His son, Richard Farris, Jr., is following in the father’s footsteps as a local business owner.
ACSO DARE officer Pat Douthit-Green attended the reception, stating that she has known Farris since his days at the Palestine PD, when she was a dispatcher there in the 1980s.
“He is just a neat guys with a great spirit — always smiling asking, ‘what do you need?’” Green recalled. “And no matter what the request, he would do it. He was a love to work with, an easy spirit. He was one of those people who always wanted to help.
“We are going to miss him.”
Taylor has known Farris for more than 20 years, he said, calling him a “great guy” and a “valuable asset” to the county.
“The countless hours he worked, he was able to help more sick and injured officers, cutting thousands of hours in overtime,” the sheriff said. “That is what makes reserves so invaluable.
“And his character showed through when he was working. He was never a complainer,” he added. “He has been with me on many calls and is certainly someone you feel confident having around. He always had your back.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com