WEST, Texas — Chief Darryl Barton of the West Police Department officially announced his retirement from the agency on May 7.
He became chief back in December of 2015 and has served for over six years, according to records.
Barton expressed a heartfelt message and reminisced about his tenure as a police officer through social media channels; from the start of his career to the end.
Barton's career began in 1985, serving under the late Chief Jerry Hugo in West, Texas.
During this time, he would attend the police academy at McLennan Community College during the day while working as an officer at night.
Upon graduation, he became a basic peace officer with a permanent license and continued serving under Chief Tommy Dulock; someone Barton says was amazing and deserved the respect he received.
Barton talked about how being able to serve in that same capacity is an honor beyond words.
Barton didn't always want to be an officer.
While Barton acknowledged his step-dad being a police officer did positively influence his career decisions, Barton initially wanted to work in broadcasting.
He attended the Columbia School of Broadcasting in Dallas and interned at a radio station in Waco to support this dream.
As a student, he worked at a convenience store and never considered being a police officer.
What started as an ordinary shift for Barton became a turning point in his life.
The late B.C. Anness, a man of many trades, approached Barton one day and encouraged him to join the police force as a reserve.
Barton hesitantly accepted the opportunity; eventually going on ride-a-longs and working events.
Because of this, Barton put his broadcasting ventures on hold.
In 1989, Barton accepted a full-time position at the Hewitt Police Department and stayed for nearly 10 years.
Barton credited his time here as giving him invaluable experiences and said it holds a special place in his heart.
However; in 1988, Barton shared how he became burned out and scaled back on his officer duties.
He went to work as a dispatcher at the Waco Police Department, tapping into his former skills as a broadcaster and combining his two loves.
While working at Waco P.D. as a dispatcher and West P..D in the reserves, the late West P..D Chief James Lawhorn retired and offered Barton a full-time offer he said he just couldn't refuse.
Working under his new chief, he saw changes within the community and what it means to be a police officer.
Under his last chief, Chris Hudson, the department incorporated social media which allowed easier communication with the neighborhood; something he continued when he was elevated into the position as he believed in its importance.
Barton further expressed his fondness for the time spent and relationships developed as chief.
He encouraged the community that it can go through anything and overcome any adversities.
He mentioned his retirement was not an easy decision, especially with the simultaneous resignation of Lieutenant Richard Milligan who is moving onwards with his family.
Barton continued with his achievements, such as introducing "National Night out" and hoped for its continuance with the community.
His last message was to assure everyone that he will "still be around" and "isn't going anywhere" and that he will always continue to support the West Police Department and its officers.