Lt. John Charles retired after 34 years with the Stillwater Police Department Wednesday morning, but he won’t stay retired long.

“I’m going to retire for seven days and then I start back with the City of Stillwater as the meter reader, reading the electric and water meter,” he said.

Charles said he is still young enough to work, so when he decided to retire from police work, he interviewed for this job.

“Quite frankly, as much as I’d like to have 30 days off and do nothing, I’ll probably get bored," Charles said. "So I just decided I needed a job, and they had that one advertised so I interviewed for it."

Charles' family teared up as he walked down the path made by SPD officers, the moment that retirement became official.

Charles said he is going to miss the relationships he built with the fellow officers the most.

“It's the relationships, because for 34 years I went to that building and hung around with the majority of those guys and now, tomorrow I don’t go there anymore,” he said.

Charles said the biggest challenge he faced when he was on patrol, was explaining to a young child why their dad was getting arrested after a DUI traffic stop.

As a lieutenant, the 2015 OSU homecoming parade came to mind as the biggest challenge of his career.

“When she plowed through the crowd and killed those people. I was there, I don’t remember some of the day. But I was the highest-ranking member of the police department the day it occurred, so I worked it in that sense,” he said.

Overall, Charles said he will miss the relationships he made along the way at SPD and the citizens he helped. 

“Lt. Charles has worked on all three patrol shifts and served as the police department Training Coordinator. Lt. Charles currently serves at the night shift commander and has a long and distinguished career at SPD,” SPD Chief Jeff Watts said. “He has served our citizens faithfully for over 34 years, his presence at the police department will be missed.”

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