Sunday, February 13, 2011

CMPD Retires a 30 year veteran and an Honest Cop

On Friday, after all of the public ceremony celebrating the end of his 30 year career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlie Walker gave me some standing time to make this portrait of him.

Earlier in the day, a few minutes before noon, friends and curious public surrounded this officer of the law which brought out that amazing smile that Cedar referenced.
Half a minute before high noon, Charlie steps out like Gary Cooper on The Square to stop traffic for the last time on duty. 
At precisely high noon, in the exact center of Charlotte North Carolina, Cooch, his giant replacement officially takes The Square beat from Charlie with a handshake, grunt and a Salute that I missed with the shutter because I was too busy wiping the tears off of my face.
With another smile and a light foot Charlie steps off of his beat for the last time of his career. 

It was July 3, 1998 when I rolled into town with my first job on my back after spending the previous eight years on the right corporate track.  On Tryon, at Stonewall stood two officers watching me fumble at the red light.   I watched them for a minute. They were squared away in clean uniforms, their badges and belts glistened in the sun.  It occurred to me that they were scanning me as if they did not know who I was because they had never seen me before.  At that point I thought to myself, It might be a good idea to go over and introduce yourself.  So I did, and within a minute I met Charlie Walker and Jimmy Horne.

Eye contact, and real communication led to the discovery of a friendship within the confines of a city where we both operate the sources of our living.  You'd think that a relationship between a police officer and a bicycle messenger might be a little stressed by the differences in work responsibility.  Not in this case, not one bit.  From that very first day I talked to him, Charlie seemed to hold what I was doing with the same respect I felt for the job that he was doing.

Of course I realize that donning a bullet proof vest and strapping on the loaded .40cal  daily to go to work requires a ton more testicular fortitude than I could ever imagine mustering myself.  However, there is something potentially life threatening about being on bicycle in the asphalt nation as well, I felt like Charlie got it.  Over the years as I watched this officer of the law walk his beat, interact with people and enforce the letter of the law when need be I gained an honest respect for the man and the position that he held.

Congratulations Charlie, for completing 30 years of honorable service in such a dangerous line of work!

*Blog Author's note to all fauxsengers drawing attention to my career choice in the greater Charlotte area:

 Charlie Walker's replacement is Cooch, he is over eight feet tall and can shoot balls of fire out of his arse.  If you are riding around uptown and see him, you may want to think about introducing yourself.  Really talking with a cop could start a relationship that lasts for years.  I know this for sure, I have already experienced the phenomenon first hand.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

transfer complete. great post, Bill.
EW

Billy Fehr said...

Thanks

Charlotte said...

Bill - thank you!!! Charlie Walker is an amazing man, a devoted father and the absolute epitome of a gentleman - a cool gentleman! He and Jim helped me understand a bit about the Center City when I first starting working there in the mid-90's. I hope you don't mind if I share your post. He deserves an extra wide audience :-) Thanks for taking the time to assemble such an awesome honor to him and for helping me share his day from far away!

joshie said...

It seems like the days of the 30-year hardworking career human are falling to the wayside these days. Nice to know there are still a few still out there. In another completely unrelated observation, I think this is the first post I've ever read of yours that actually uses the word uptown and not uptoon. This only adds to the emotional seriousness of your post. Good job, sir.

TheMutt said...

Awesome write up Bill.

Billy Fehr said...

Charlie Walker is not only a dedicated police officer, but a devoted brother as well.
I couldn't be more proud of him. His dedication to the Police Officer Oath and to the City of Charlotte for 30 years is to be commended.
Thank You Bill, for taking your time to make the write up in honor of a dedicated uniformed officer and my brother, Charles (Charlie). It means a lot that there are still persons out there who uphold and respect a man in uniform.
The warmth and kindness of my brothers personality have played a huge part in his success as a police officer and in keeping the Trade and Tryon beat safe, not only the businesses, employees of uptown, but for visitors of uptown Charlotte.
Happy Retirement to you my Brother, you deserve a break today after the many years of dedication. Enjoy your coffee and prop those feet up for a change!!
Love, Your little sister Carolyn

Carolyn,

Sorry, I accidentally fat fingered a reject of your original comment on my eye phone. Ask Charlie how easy that is to do. I wanted people to hear your voice, so I cut and pasted your words...

Anonymous said...

You know Charlie doesn't like all of this media attention. You can tell by the smile on his face. He is by far the best cop Charlotte has had for the last 30ish years. I always felt good riding the streets uptown knowing he was around. He is the only officer I'd ever trust. Jimmy was cool, but Charlie was old school cool in a father kinda way. My guess, He is deep in the woods and fishing everyday he can. I need to give him a call before he drops off the radar.
Awesome post,
KT