“This world will eventually knock all of us down and bring us to our knees. You only lose when you fail to get up.”
So wrote Paul Bicki to his fellow New Haven police officers Friday. He was bidding good-bye upon retiring from the force after 25 years on the job. He didn’t know if he’d make it to 25 years—or even make it all, through “life-altering surgery.” He got up, and got up again, and kept New Haven safer.
To My Brother and Sister Police Officers at the New Haven Police Department:
I retired today. It’s not easy letting go. But after 25 years of service, the time has come for me to hand up my duty belt on many levels. I have had a good run with many of you here and with many of those who have already moved on. I did not want to leave without saying good bye and thank you to my law enforcement family in New Haven, which includes so many past and present officers, as well as non-sworn personnel. I’d also like to thank the New Haven community for their support of me, as well.
This day of celebration was made possible by the sacrifices and support you provided to me during the last several years of my journey with cancer. A brother on my right, a sister on my left; you truly buoyed my spirits, lifted me up and carried me through to the end. A retired lieutenant and friend told me six years ago when I was facing life-altering ostomy surgery that I would adapt, because I was a cop and that’s what cops do.
He was right. This world will eventually knock all of us down and bring us to our knees. You only lose when you fail to get up. Your support gave me the strength to be my own hero. No matter what beholds my future, I will always cherish and be inspired by what you did for me and by the memories of my time here with you. An old yogi from 500B.C. once said, “There was never a time that you and I were not here, nor will there ever be a future when we cease to exist.”
It has been both an honor and a privilege to have served and protected others with you. I am blessed to have found a meaningful career in law enforcement to fulfill my life, and a meaningful life in itself is a great reward. To the younger officers…in the twinkling of an eye, your life can change, but take heart in knowing you in the care of the greatest fraternity in the world. Some of you have become like sons and daughters to me and I’ve enjoyed working alongside you. You represent the best of your generation. Enjoy your careers while they are happening because in a wink and blink of an eye, it is over and these will be your “good old days.” Make a difference one call at a time. With each call you are dispatched, you will invite negativity into your world…fight it…hang on to some of your rookie idealism and enthusiasm as long as you can and one day, you will retire with honor. You will not change the world. But make no mistake about it, you will have made the difference one call at a time. Always remember that to be a light to others, you must survive the burning.
Stay safe…stay strong…and CHOOSE to be positive. May God bless you and your loved ones with all His good and heavenly things from above. I will miss you. Signal 13.
Officer Paul J. Bicki #194
“For we are here not to merely bloom in the light, but rather, like trees, to be weathered: burned by the heat, frozen by the snow, and through our hearts be broken, still, we put out new leaves in spring, begin again.