NISKAYUNA- Bagpipes sounded out the last salute of Niskayuna police officer Michael Terwilliger on Friday, Sept. 30.
After 34 years of service -32 spent in Niskayuna- many of his fellow officers came out to congratulate and commemorate his career on the force.
Shortly after the pipes died down, Terwilliger took a moment to talk about his career:
Nash: What made you want to go into the force?
Terwilliger: I had an uncle who was on the force in Schenectady and my dad was a post office worker. I remember seeing their uniforms in middle school and really wanting one. Then, as I got older I knew, job wise, it would be good to have a government job. There’s always something to do. So I went to Hudson Valley Community College and got an associates degree in criminal justice. Then I worked as a civilian dispatcher for two years before joining the force in Niskayuna.
Nash: What’s been the most rewarding part of your career?
Terwilliger: Just working with the community. In 1996, I started the child safety seat program with Chief Sollohub. I helped parents install their child’s safety seat correctly. I was also asked to be a part of a program at Bellevue Hospital where I showed new parents how to install their child’s safety seats. I did that for about 12 years. Then Frank Cannizzo asked me to get involved with a bike safety program and I’ve been doing that for a while.
A few months ago, I was talking with this family and when the father introduced me to his son, he told me that because he’d been in one of the classes where I’d taught parents to install their child’s safety seat that his son was alive. Two weeks after he went to the class, he’d gotten into an accident with his son and because the seat was installed right, the son was alright.
Nash: What are you going to miss the most about being a police officer?
Terwilliger: It’s definitely the community involvement and working with all of these guys (the other police on the force).
Nash: How has being on the force changed since you started?
Terwilliger: The community has changed a lot. There are more residents and more businesses now and other problems come up with that. Now, everyone is watching and that’s something you have to consider. Both as a civilian and as a police officer.
Nash: Where are you going from here?
Terwilliger: I’m going to be working in the private sector now, which is going to be a big transition – from being a cop to a security guard.