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  Farewell Letter from a Richmond Cop - Thanks, Sergeant Tod J. Opdyke (Retired)
October 25, 2013

From: "Tod J. Opdyke" <todjopdyke@yahoo.com>
Subject: BEAT 1 UPDATE / Farewell
Date: October 24, 2013 at 11:52:44 AM PDT
To: Tod Opdyke <todjopdyke@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: "Tod J. Opdyke" <todjopdyke@yahoo.com>

October 22, 2013

My Friends of Beat 1;

First of all, this is a lengthy one so grab a cup of tea, coffee or whatever your favorite beverage and thank you in advance for enduring my last First of all, this is a lengthy one so grab a cup of tea, coffee or whatever your favorite beverage and thank you in advance for enduring my last BEAT 1 UPDATE.

Also, after you read this email, I would appreciate it if you would send this email to all of your respective community email groups/googlegroups etc. I'm not sure if I was able to include them all or if this email will reach the intended community email googlegroup from my personal email address. Thank you. 1 UPDATE.

The last time we communicated was in October of 2012. I was in the middle of preparing a Beat 1 community meeting night where we could all get together and discuss the state of beat 1 etc. Believe me, I had the best of intention and I was working on reserving a venue that would hold the number of tentative R.S.V.P. responses that I had received from this wonderful community when I was injured on October 19, 2012. Without going into the boring details of that day, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital with a back injury and unable to walk for a few days. I have since regained my ability to walk however it has been a painful process along the road trying to regaining some sort of normal healthy life. I have not returned to duty/work since being hospitalized on October 19, 2012. Consequently, I am writing this email to you from home. This is my last official UPDATE.

The entire process has been extremely difficult to say the least. Based on my injury I am no longer capable of meeting the minimum physical standard required of this profession. Therefore effective, today Tuesday, October 22, 2013 I have officially retired from the Richmond Police Department and law enforcement after almost 36 years of service to the people of my home town, Richmond, California.

January 3, 2013, I celebrated 35 years as a Richmond police officer. Though my heart will always be with the Richmond police department and this city, I feel compelled to accept my fate even though I feel that I have so much more to contribute as a Richmond police sergeant. But there comes a time when you must know when to leave and as the cliche goes; turn the page to a new chapter of my life. It is time.

This is not easy for me. Even though many people have told me that they are envious of being able to retire. Retiring as a Richmond police officer is special and for me it is also bittersweet. However the withdrawal can and has been very challenging but I know that for the sake of my personal quality of life and after receiving a gunshot wound to the face in 1982, broken bones, ruptured discs and a dozen other lesser injuries; it is the right time to leave, my body is worn and tired.

I must say that there are not many in any profession that are able to spend 35 plus years in the profession that they love. I started as a young vibrant 23 year old young man and now ending my career a little less vibrant but truly thankful and grateful well seasoned veteran. I have been truly fortunate and protected in so many ways.

I will miss many aspects of this profession not limited to my family of officers that I have worked with and that I have loved deeply through the years.

I honor those officers who have long since retired and some of which have passed from this life who did set the bar and that created a positive influence on me. I think about them often.

I honor the officers that have given their lives while committed to making Richmond a better and safer place to live and work. I honor the determination and courage of all officers that served within the Richmond PD before me and along side me, with honor and integrity. I will never gorget them.

Substantially, it is also the friendships I've made throughout this community that I will remember significantly as well. There are so many of you who are extraordinarily special to me. I would be afraid to mention any of you by name out of fear of inadvertently forgetting one person and only because there are so many of you who I cherish.

So if it was you within the Marina who for a while as my neighbor, or the group at the Marina Bay Neighborhood Council, or the cookies over the back fence along the shoreline path as I conducted foot patrol as a beat 1 officer. To the energetic group that started the Safety and Security committee at the Marina Bay Association Condominiums. I'll remember you all. To the management of gated complexes with whom I shared many conversations and attended many meetings in an effort to improve and maintain the quality of life within this community. I'll remember you.

To my good friends within the Santa Fe community and council who embrace their police, have appropriately high expectations and who are committed to ridding this community of the evil; I thank you, I commend you and I'll remember you!

Of course to my friends on So.1st Street and So. 5th and So. 6th Street and Ohio Avenue and so many I had the occasion to stop and discuss issues with in between. I'll remember you. Of course I'll never forget my friend (The Godfather)from the Santa Fe community who like so many others, gives so much to this community, I thank you.

Also, the group and trouble makers who reside on Sand Piper Spit within the Brickyard area of Point Richmond. I'm not naming one in particular but I cherish the hours of late night talks that sometimes had nothing to do with public safety but just about life and maybe a little photography conversation mixed in. I will remember you.

Also To the group of bicycle beasts from that same aforementioned menacing block that use to run my patrol car off the road at about 6AM while astride their blazing bicycles, 2 or 3 times a week. I'll remember you fondly.

Or the good Doctor (PhD) from Brickyard Landing who I spoke with on occasion and who was always delightful, dignified and incredibly supportive, I'll remember you sir.

Of course, the rest of you within the community of Brickyard Landing and Brickyard Cove and the meetings that had an overwhelming turnout, very concerned and always very supportive. I'll remember you.

To the growing group of Seacliff residents who are realizing what it takes to keep our community safe. To those of you that have invited me into your home for conversation while treating me like family to seek ideas of ways to maintain the quality of their community and to protect their community. Yes, I remember our conversations. I'll remember you.

I haven't forgot the many of you who stopped me in the street in downtown Point Richmond or if we had a curb side chat up on Buena Vista, Scenic or over on Ocean Ave, Western Drive, up on Water Street, East Scenic, Crest, Railroad Ave, W. Richmond Ave and all locations between, if only to say 'hello' and 'thank you', I want to say to you, Thank you and I'll always remember you.

Of course the neighborhood meetings I attended within in a residence with the fantastic goodies and food and to all of you inbetween and many times just so that you could voice your concerns and learn how to better protect your home and neighborhood. I'll remember you.

Oh yes, then again in the Marina there was a meeting after the meeting at Salute's restaurant where I learned some insight from the group of delightful members of the community that migrated to Salute's restaurant for pizza. I'll remember you and thank you for everything.

To all you who have treated me with the highest respect in your establishments, in your community neighborhoods and even in your home. I'll remember you and I appreciate all of your support and kindness.

I will never forget the valuable hours spent at the meetings or on the telephone and the many emails of concerns and issues and the tremendous support and commitment from those in Sand Pointe. The commitment from the management and the residents of the Breakers. The incredible support from the management and all the dozens of meetings at the Marina Bay Association. Again the commitment from all at The Shores, The Cove and of course the active members of the community at Anchor Cove who were on board from the moment that community was built like so many other nearby communities as well. I'll remember all of you.

To our relatively new neighbors and the management off of Jetty Drive, thank you for your support but I wish I would have spent more time getting to know you and becoming more familiar with more of you. I will remember you.

Of course to our next door neighbors at the police department, the residents of BayFront, thank you for putting up with us and thank you for your continued support.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank the hospitality and true friendship with the community of Kaiser Laboratory on Marina Way South. Also my good friends at MSRC in Point Richmond who have been consistently supportive. I'll remember you all and thank you for your continued support, hospitality and plain kindness. I will always remember you.

To the hundreds of you throughout the entire beat 1 community that communicated with me often in a strong show of support and a determination to keep this community safe and to rid the community of evil and deceit and the potential of serious crime; I will forever remember you and your vigilance. You are the best.

I just can't say enough about this entire community involvement and your dedication to better your community. To all of you throughout beat 1 who continue to evolve at communicating, watching, reporting and becoming involved to rid this community of the evil that will prey upon you if you are not active and diligent. You are all the model for community involvement and leadership within the city.

I'll remember your involvement, your "hello", your friendly gestures, your commitment and your support not only in words but certainly in action. I believe or at least I hope that all of you know who you are and please know that you have touched me in a very special way. There are many of you that I have spoken with just a few brief times but rest assured that you have left me with a lasting positive impression. All of your support, kindness, terrific ideas and thoughts and kindness has meant more to me than I will ever be able to express and certainly more than you will ever know.

All of you have made me a better human being and public servant just by sharing your thoughts, your experiences, trusting each other and equally as important, trusting and supporting your police. I have been amazed but not really surprised at the open communication, commitment and determination and your collaboration with your police department toward resolve. All of you regardless of the community; whether it's in the Brickyard area of Point Richmond, the Santa Fe community, Point Richmond business and residential community or the Marina Bay area; you should be proud of your effort and involvement that has a direct impact with the crime reduction that we have experienced over the last few years. Thank you.

So believe me when I say that if you stop for a minute and wonder if I was referring to you? If I remembered the one conversation that we had briefly on the sidewalk or in front of your home while I was passing through? Yes I remember that it was you. So please do not think for a moment that your contact, issue, neighborhood concern, input or conversation with me was insignificant. It was very significant.

As a native of Richmond California, I have never wanted to serve in any other city or wear the uniform of any other law enforcement agency other than the one I have for the last 35 plus years and I have done so distinctly with pride and honor.

I not only grew up in this city but I matured as a man and police officer within this agency. Therefore a Richmond police officer is what I am and have been over the last 35 plus years rather than what I have done as a job.

Hopefully somewhere along this tremendously challenging journey, I pray that I have helped to provide this community with a service that has resulted with a positive impact to someone's life. I hope that I have affected someone's life in a positive way. God knows that you have affected mine in a tremendously positive way. I hope that members in this community that I came in contact with were assured that I cared and that I would do everything within my power to advance their quality of life and to protect them with every resource I could muster.

I have without question maintained the necessary high ethical standard both on and off duty. I have always known that no matter what I have accomplished or what action I took in life, it was a direct reflection on the Richmond police department and this noble profession. I have done my very best serving the people of Richmond, California.

We at the RPD have made mistakes along this journey. I honestly know that when we have made mistakes, we have learned to realize them and have done our best to make assurances that those same mistakes will not be repeated. I have not worked with or witnessed any other agency that overall does it better than the officers of the Richmond California police department.

Regrettably some will make mistakes that challenges the public trust. But ladies and gentleman, those individuals are always dealt with and it does not negate the integrity of the men and women that are of excellent and profound character that make up this great agency.

You are fortunate to have a very aggressive and progressive police department led by a brilliant and innovative visionary Police Chief. Chief Chris Magnus is recognized nation wide for taking this department to new heights with real crime reducing strategies and results. Chief Magnus has set the bar to a height which other law enforcement agencies on a nation wide level aspire to achieve. Representatives from various police agencies nation wide as well as locally have come to our agency to analyze what and how we are making a difference. The theory, concept and implementation of this crime reduction strategy, technological advances is directly attributed to Chief Magnus. We have one of the best police chiefs in the nation and certainly the best that I have worked for. Our chief is strong and has not been afraid to take on adversity and the tough fight in the name of what is right. Thank you does not seem like enough but, thank you very much Chief Magnus. I will always remember you.

Through the years, I have had profound pleasure and privilege to work with and become acquainted with City Manager Bill Lindsay. Mr. Lindsay is an extraordinary individual that has provided Chief Magnus and this police department with tremendous support. Mr. Lindsay's support ultimately has provided our chief and this department with the confidence, clear direction and the ability to pursue many crucial resources.

Mr. Lindsay is a hands on manager with the way he has managed the City of Richmond and involved himself literally throughout every neighborhood. I speak from first hand knowledge when I say that regardless of the issue big or small, whether Mr. Lindsay spent a Saturday along side of residents of a neighborhood beautification project or caught in the throws of a commercial/ industrial controversy, Mr. Lindsay has faced whatever storm that has come along. Some of those storms were devastating by nature and he faced them without delegating the tough or unpopular task to a subordinate city representative. There are of course hundreds upon hundreds of other tasks and projects for which his involvement was crucial that we will never hear about; some of which was instrumental to right this once sinking ship.

Let us not forget the financial crisis that this city was in several years ago when Mr. LIndsay came on board. He rid the city of the dead weight and brought in some of the best and the brightest. Under the leadership of Mr. Lindsay, he has brought this city to a financial level of respect attaining the highest credit rating of any city. The proof is receiving state and federal recognition for financial budgeting. In my humble opinion, Bill Lindsay has been flawless and it is crystal clear to me why the City of Richmond hired him to manage this complex city. Thank you Mr. Lindsay, I will always remember you.

Within the mission of the Richmond police department, ultimately it is the effort of the dedicated officers on the street, in our schools and the detectives behind the scenes that strive daily to keep you safe and bring those to justice that have wronged the community of Richmond. Your officers on a daily basis truly do place themselves between you and acts of deceit, evil and devastating deadly violence to protect our valued community. No longer is it just about "cops and robbers". The highest Court in the land recognizes that law enforcement officers are the "Caretakers of the community" which ultimately has and will continue to improve the quality of life within this city while addressing new challenges.

Of course all of us and all of this effort would not have the growing and clear success that we experience and take pride in if it wasn't for your continued outstanding community involvement and support. You have made me proud with your support, involvement and grasped the responsibility to keep our community safe. Please continue to stay vigilant, stay informed, stay involved and communicate with your police. It takes the effort of all to succeed with this continued challenge of crime reduction and to attain and maintain the quality of life that you want and deserve.

In closing, I have met some absolutely extraordinarily wonderful people and I have made many friendships. I wish I had the time to get to know all of you even better. This city is full of great people and I am fortunate to have been touched by so many in a very positive way.

I have thoroughly enjoyed overseeing the issues of beat 1. As a community you have not only made me a better law enforcement officer and leader but you have made me a better person. I will not forget you and I thank you for your understanding, support and commitment. It has truly been my honor to have been able to serve you for so many years.

If you would indulge me for the last time, please read the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. It is the standard that we demand here at the RPD and a standard that is expected from law enforcement in this country. I have copied it below my signature. It does ask and demand a lot from our officers but law enforcement recognizes that the community deserves no less.

I have created an email address below that you may feel free to contact me with your comments. Now that you have received this email, please do not write me at the police department email. I am no longer online there. However you may reply to me at todjopdyke@yahoo.com. I will check the email…on occasion :)

So where did the years go? If I could, I would turn back the clock to January 3, 1978 and do it all over again. With you. In this city. Only better.

I love the Richmond police department and this community. You see my friends, my career effort has never been about me; it has been about serving you, the good people of this city and about the profession I chose to serve and honor.

With all of my heart I wish all of you peace, happiness and much love. I bid you a heartfelt farewell.


Sergeant Tod Opdyke (Retired)
Richmond Police Department
Service: January 3, 1978 - October 22, 2013

The below paragraph in part was obtained from a publication from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. I took the liberty to edit the paragraph in part to fit the challenges of this city.
There are few professions that demand so much moral fiber as policing. Police stand in "harm's way" not only against enemies with bullets but against enemies skilled in every form of trickery, deceit, feigned ignorance, evil and deception. That is why the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, stands as a spirited reminder to the higher order of this calling:

Law Enforcement Code of Ethics
* As a Law Enforcement Officer my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.
* I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare or others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department.
* Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.
* I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
* I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession...law enforcement.


Sergeant Tod J. Opdyke (Retired)
Richmond Police Department
Richmond, California 94804

Service: January 1978 - October 2013