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Forest Park police officer celebrates 38 years with force

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The Forest Park Police Department celebrated Major Jerry Church's 38th Anniversary with the agency. On Oct. 1 members of the TRIAD (a senior citizen program sponsored by the police department), hosted an anniversary party for Church.

TRIAD members, police officers and city officials gathered to thank Church for 38 years of dedicated service to the city and its citizens. Major Church began his service with Forest Park Police Department on Oct. 1st, 1965, after serving almost four years in the Army.

Church said the best advice he can give to new officers is to never forget that they work for the citizens in their community and to treat them as they would want their family treated.

His most memorable experience was of a parent who was one of hundreds or people Church saw come to the police department to bail someone out. The parent told their son, "I love you, but I don't condone what you have done."

Church said usually people blame the police for a friend or loved one being in jail, or they would do nothing but berate the jailed person. This one person's comments stayed in his thoughts for years.

Although there are some things he would have liked to have done differently, Church said he has no regrets because all his life's experiences led him to be the person he is today.

The worst event he can remember is when Forest Park police Officer Ricky Cash was killed in the line of duty on January 3rd, 1996. Although Church has faced many death-related incidents over the years, there is nothing like losing an officer.