NORWALK, Conn. – Lights were flashing red and blue behind Norwalk Police headquarters Friday but there was no trouble – other than a veteran community policing officer going on his way, feeling "anxious, nervous, a little bit of everything" as he faced retirement after 30 years on the job.
Officer Ed Schwartz figures he'll do some projects at home now that he doesn't have to come to Norwalk five days a week. His fellow officers made his last day memorable.
About 25 of his friends and colleagues joined Schwartz in a breakfast paid for by Police Union Local 1727, said Sgt. Thomas Roncinske, union president. Schwartz was taken for a last drive around Norwalk by Lt. Shawn Wong Won, his supervisor, and their patrol car was escorted back to the station by the motorcycle unit. There, officers including Chief Thomas Kulhawik and Deputy Chief David Wrinn, lined up next to the police cars sitting in a line with their lights on.
"When Ed got out of the car we were called to attention by Cpt. (Ernest) Vitarbo and threw him a final salute," Roncinske said in an email.
Schwartz said he had worked patrol, mainly on the midnight shift. He was awarded a meritorious commendation certificate last week, in part for the record $11,000 raised by the annual Tip-A-Cop fundraiser, which he organized, according to Kulhawik. Schwartz also coordinated the Special Olympics torch run for many years.
Other details were hard to come by.
"I could tell you stories but you can't print them," said Ray Moerler, a retired officer who came for the send-off.
Officer Mike Silva said, "He may be Eddie but he's our Eddie."
Updated, 9 p.m. Aug. 5