On July 11, 2018, I announced my intent to retire from the Mechanicville Police Department after serving 29 years! I started my career after graduating from the Military Police School Academy in Ft. McClellan Alabama. Mayor John Fascia and Clara Mae Pitcheralle gave me the oath of office. Months after being sworn, I was sent overseas to serve in the first Gulf War known as Operation Desert Shield and then ultimately Desert Storm. Upon my return Mayor Patrick Hildreth swore me in full-time where I started at $7.00 an hour.
I am the son of the late Judy (Ingle) Waldron and Richard H. Waldron of Mechanicville. Sadly my best friend and twin brother, John, passed away in 2004. My wife, Samantha and I are the proud parents of Matthew and Carrie Anne Waldron. Growing up in Mechanicville was the greatest experience and joy I will treasure for eternity. Life was simple back in the old days and there was never any competition with neighbors. I was blessed to have 9 Aunts and Uncles and over 40 first cousins which meant I was related to half of Mechanicville. The other half was well known by my parents, so I didn’t get away with anything. Kids played freely in the streets and cemetery and occupied there time with outdoor activity and not computers and games in a house. The cell phone back in the old day was your mother or father screaming out the door for you to come home and wash up for supper! As kids we ran home knowing that Mom worked all day making supper and put it in this thing called an “OVEN” and the meal we were about to eat would fill our stomachs like no other! We were never flush with money and we lived barely, paycheck to paycheck but my parents raised us to respect others and never judge another by the way they look or how much money they had or hadn’t! That every family suffers in their own way, they just hide it better than us. That everyone is just one zero away from needing help to live or eat. My Mom used to say, “Manners are free Joe and John, they cost you nothing, so use them”
I brought these values to the Police Department and treated everyone with fairness and compassion. I never once felt I was any better than the people I served and worked hard to help everyone I came in contact with. I got out of the car and walked the streets; I sat in the local store or restaurant and struck up conversations; I sat in your living room (While they smoked 4 or 5 cigarettes) and listened to your concerns and I never judged you!! Even those I may have had to arrest, I always respected them and treated them equally and would always say hi when I saw them again in the streets. This wasn’t a job to me, it was a place where I could make a difference; where I could change someone’s life; where I could be that little caring and compassionate ear when you just wanted to vent. I want everyone to know, I loved you all and I hope I made a difference in your life, and if I didn’t, I’m truly sorry.
Making this decision was not easy, all my friends had retired and I was the last dinosaur that used a 3X5 index card to arrest you; the last one to put you in the old jail cells located upstairs; the last one to crank the old fire siren so when someone pulled the fire box on their street, the horn would sound; the last one who used a built in phone at the rescue squad building to call the station. I could go on and on but I think you get where I am going with this. I want to thank each and every officer that came before me and who will come after me. This is a thankless job at times and you work hard and long hours to keep Mechanicville safe. To the residents, you have made me who I am! Each and every one of you taught me something about life; about struggles and about love your neighbor! My success was your success!
As my family and I fade in the sunset I want you to know that I am the luckiest man in the World to have gotten to know each and every one of you! Mechanicville is a wonderful place to live and enjoy life! Please don’t get so consumed that you forget to smell the roses on your journey of life!