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By Randy Economy
Local residents have been adieu to one of the most recognizable faces in law enforcement after Reserve Commander Patrick J. Cleary hung up his badge as a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after nearly four decades of employment and service.
On Saturday, January 5, at 11:00pm, Cleary served his last shift at the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station.
He reflected on his storied career in an interview with Los Cerritos Community Newspaper and the La Mirada Lamplighter on his last “day on the job” for the last time he donned is working uniform.
“I love this community, it is part of me,” Cleary said.
“I have loved every minute of my work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and being able to serve the community I live in has been an honor,” a jovial Cleary said.
Cleary began working for the LASD back in February 1974. The former graduate of George Washington High School in Los Angeles in 1962 spent a number of year working as a patrol unit dealing with day to day crimes in and around Norwalk, La Mirada and the Unincorporated Area of East and South Whittier and Los Nietos.
“I have seen it all. Crime goes up, it goes down, but we have to always remember that a real person is affected each and every day,” Cleary said.
He said that one of his biggest accomplishments was busting up a car burglary ring in which 27 vehicles had their car stereos stolen. “We found the guys who did it and we had each and everyone of those stereos returned to their proper owners and all of them were reinstalled. That was amazing when you stop and think about it,” Cleary said. For his efforts he was presented the Departments Meritorious Conduct Medal that he pointed to on his uniform during his last shift.
Cleary had huge praise showered on him by Captain Patrick Maxwell, of the Norwalk Station. “Reserve Commander Cleary has proudly worn the Sheriff’s uniform for 38 years all of which have been at the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station. For the past 27 years he worked as Unit 45R, serving the residents of the City of Norwalk every Friday and Saturday night,” Maxwell said in an interview.
Prior to his Norwalk assignment, he spent 11 years serving the residents of unincorporated Whittier as Unit 48R.
“Reserve Commander Cleary’s dedication and exemplary work ethic will continue to influence many deputies, past and present, at Norwalk Sheriff’s Station. He has built a legacy and I am forever grateful for his service,” Maxwell said.
“I have grown children and two grandchildren, and it is a good feeling to know that I can do whatever I want from now on,” Cleary laughed.
Cleary also said that “Norwalk is a safer place today that back when I started here in the 1970’s.”
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