By Nancy Gutierrez

Current and former police officers from the Exeter Police Department gathered at the Exeter Memorial Building Thursday, Oct. 21 to celebrate the career of retiring officer Rick Grimsley and wish him luck on his future endeavors.

Officers could not hold back tears as many shared memories of working with Grimsley and presented him with gifts. Larry Allison, who worked for Exeter PD several years ago but is now a body guard in Hollywood, presented Grimsley with a Raiders jacket, as well as the badge that Dennis Franz uses in the TV show NYPD Blue. Allison also had a special surprise for Grimsley. He had made a video recording of a variety of Hollywood actors wishing Grimsley well on his retirement. The list of actors included, the entire cast of NYPD Blue, Ray Romano and Brad Garrett.

"Lt. Bush called me and said he wanted to do something special and I went into action," Allison said.

Grimsley was also given a retirement badge and a police association replica handgun engraved with his name and police number. He received an engraved plaque from the city and a proclamation from Assemblyman Bill Maze.

He was also presented with a shadow box filled with momentos of his time as an officer in the Exeter Police Department. Included in the box was the badge he wore.

One gift brought a moment of levity to the party as Lt. Bush presented Grimsley with a golden bumper jack. He said once while Grimsley was on duty his patrol car got a flat tire and in the middle of changing it he didn't set up the bumper-jack correctly.

"He jacked up the door and not the car," Bush said.

The night continued on with more stories, tears and laughter. Grimsley’s decision to retire comes nearly two years after he was nearly killed by a drunk driver on Sept. 1, 2001. He and a police trainee made a traffic stop along highway 65 near Firebaugh Avenue. While getting some paperwork out of the trunk of the patrol car, a drunk driver slammed into the rear of the car pinning the officer in between and severing both of his legs near the knee. Grimsley spent several weeks in a coma and then remained in the intensive care unit for more than a month recuperating. Since February 2003 he has been working in a limited role in the Exeter Police Department doing background checks, callbacks and follow-up interviews.

Grimsley, who did not know about the celebration until that day, said he was overwhelmed with the attention last Thursday but grateful for supportive co-workers and friends.

"We are all a big family in law enforcement," Bush said. "He's only been gone one month but we miss him every day."

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