Chris Manner retired from the just before Christmas and he said he misses the job already.
Manner was a sergeant in the Patrol Division for 16 of his 25 years on the force and also served as a training officer and instructor on the use of force and firearms.
"I loved it. It was awesome. I looked forward to getting up in the morning and coming to work," he said.
Many North Branford residents know him as a longtime sports coach at the high school and intermediate school. He has coached the intermediate school cross-country team, the high school boys' basketball team and the high school and teams.
He said he’s not giving that up, now that he’s retired from the police department.
Manner said coaching allowed him to develop close relationships with many young people as he watched them grow up, mature, go on to college and start careers.
He’s been coaching so long that some of the recent athletes are children of others he coached when they were teenagers, he said.
Manner paid his fellow officers a compliment, observing that the town is lucky because its police officers are "top notch."
Policing changed a lot during his years on the force. He said when he joined, an officer’s job was mostly just applying the law. Now officers have to be psychologists and social workers because many people don’t have anywhere to turn for help besides the police.
Evidence collecting is also more complicated because of DNA analysis and other new criminal investigating tools, he added.
Manner always found it rewarding to make an arrest when someone was the victim of a crime.
He recalled a day in the summer of 1997 when he stopped at home for lunch and noticed a suspicious car parked at his neighbor’s house. It turned out that the car belonged to some burglars who were trying to rob the residence when the owner wasn’t home. Manner said he apprehended them in the garage before they made it into the house.
Manner said he might even apply for a job with another area police department, starting at the bottom again. "That just shows how much I love the job," he said.
He is only 47 years old. "But I’m a young 47," he hastened to add.
Since he retired, he said he feels funny not going to work, although he has done a little work as a private investigator.
"It’s different," he said.
But Manner noted that this year was the first time that he can remember being able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his family without having to go to work for part of the time.
A will be held on Jan. 20 at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven.