Revamp Plano s city flag

Plano Star Courier, Classified

My name is Terry Groves. I am a lieutenant with the Plano Police Department.

I am retiring Wednesday after 38 years in law enforcement. When I started, it wasn't something you did for fame, fortune or glory. It was a calling to serve others. I was honored to become a part of the thin blue line, the first and last line of defense for those unable to defend themselves.

I started with Irving PD in the 70s and then moved to Plano in ’89. I sought out counsel from a mentor before I moved. He cautioned me that there was a problem in Plano. Children were committing suicide at an alarming rate. He told me that there was a spirit on the city.

Well, I moved anyway.

During my first few months of working nights I would drive to the top of a parking garage and pray over the city every night. Over the next 27 years I have been party to an incredible number of experiences.

I have held you while you wept. I have bandaged bullet holes in your children. I have held my tongue while you spat at me and cursed me. I have chased you at incredible speeds. I have jailed you for everything from murder and organized crime to public drunkenness. I have testified against you, and wondered if something more could have been done to keep this from happening. I have changed your tires, built your houses, fed your homeless, walked miles around false alarms, and written tickets to those who were less than appreciative. I've bought drugs from you, counseled your kids, and spent many a night wondering what else we could do to keep them from overdosing.

Over the last few years I have seen an increasingly compassionate response from you, the citizens of this beautiful city.

In just one example, I was dressed in my Command Dress uniform for a 9/11 memorial. I walked into a crowded coffee shop to just get a cup before the memorial. I got a lot of stares. I got to the cashier and he wouldn't take my money. As I insisted, he told me that numerous people wanted to buy my coffee, but today it was on the house. As I turned to go I raised my cup and said “thank you.” I got a standing ovation. Then one man asked if I would pose for pictures with his son like I was some sort of celebrity.

In the aftermath of the recent violence against law enforcement I have been humbled to tears at the outpouring of support and love.

As I prepare to retire, I realize the answer to what more could be done was always right there.

Friday was my last day in uniform and I stopped at a grocer to buy some lunch. A very sweet senior lady walked up and said, “Thank you for what you do. I pray for you every night.” It really struck me. All those years ago I prayed over you when you didn't really care for me. Now when my brothers and I really need you, you have been there with all the love and prayers we need to get through this tough time.

I wanted to take a moment and just say “thank you” to all of you and to encourage you to continue to take care of each other. We aren't perfect. We are human and subject to the failings of mere mortals, but there are a lot of courageous men and women out there in blue every day trying to keep you safe. They can't do it alone, and I hope you accept my sincerest thanks and humble encouragement to continue to pray for each other and every once in a while offer one up for those who answered the call to become the thin blue line.

Thank you for bestowing on me the honor of being a police officer. It has been a privilege to serve you.

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