UCFPD Sgt. Jerry Hartsfield first stepped onto the campus of the University of Central Florida 35 years ago as a criminal justice student.
This month, he retires with an honorary promotion of lieutenant following 30 years of service with UCFPD.
Hartsfield, known for being a man of few words, had a simple message for colleagues who this week attended a reception in his honor.
“I was fortunate to be here all these years, and I hope that those of you who are in the same situation here, 30 years from now, will get the opportunity to retire from UCF.”
Former UCFPD Maj. Randy Mingo, who retired earlier this year, returned to UCFPD to support his friend and share stories about “the good old days,” when campus was still rural and when there were much less students and police officers.
“We’ve had some really great times, and I hope they don’t end,” Mingo said to Hartsfield. “Retirement’s really great. You’re going to embrace it, and it’s been my pleasure to work with you.”
When Hartsfield was first sworn in at UCFPD in 1986, Ronald Reagan was president and gas cost $.89 a gallon, Chief Richard Beary said, acknowledging how much UCF and the world have changed since Hartsfield started as an officer.
“Jerry, you’ve got a lot of good friends here, you’ve been through a lot here, and you’ve survived all of it,” Beary said. “A heartfelt congratulations.”
Hartsfield plans on enjoying his retirement by spending time on his fishing boat and going trap shooting with his friends and UCFPD colleagues.
“I always said retirement’s going to be different,” said Hartsfield. “Doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad, but it’s certainly going to be different.”