Stoughton Police Lt. Francis Wohlgemuth will be working his last 4 p.m. to midnight shift on Thursday, retiring after 27 years and 5 months as a police officer, all with the Town of Stoughton.
After serving as a patrolman for just under four years and then as a sergeant for four years, Wohlgemuth has been a lieutenant since 1994, and is the longest tenured lieutenant with the Department.
"Fran has been a dedicated servant to the people of Stoughton," Executive Officer Robert Devine said. "He has been a leader in the organization and will be sorely missed. We wish him well as he embarks on this next chapter of his life."
Wohlgemuth said he is retiring because of a mandatory statute that requires officers to hang it up at the age of 65. He turned the magic age earlier this month.
Upon Wohlgemuth's retirement, Sergeant Dan McGowan will be promoted to lieutenant, Devine said, joining Devine and Michael Blount as the other lieutenants with the SPD.
Wohlgemuth graduated college in 1971 with a degree in elementary teaching, but when he couldn't find a teaching job ended up working with a roofing company and an engineering company, subbing as a teacher a couple of times in Boston, he said.
He then became a police officer, joining the ranks of the SPD.
"It's kind of cliche, everybody says they want to help people," Wohlgemuth responded as to why he became a police officer. "But I just wanted to help people in need."
Policing has changed over the course of the last three decades. He said there is more drug activity now and a tendency for people to be more violent, especially with use of weapons. As a result the likelihood of officers getting injured is more likely, he said.
But Wohlgemuth also said increased community policing efforts have resulted in the Department being more visible in the town and having more open communication with the residents.
In 27-plus years, Wohlgemuth has been through the Department's highs and lows, but leaves knowing the SPD is in good hands under the leadership of Chief Paul Shastany.
"The way he's turned this Department around - he's done a wonderful job," Wohlgemuth said, adding Shastany is working at "making this one of the better departments in the state."
"We had a dark period of time for a while, our reputation wasn't very good, but it's turned around since the Chief has come here," he added. "People have responded well to what we are trying to do."
As of now, Wohlgemuth said his retirement plans are to "take it easy." He said he'll miss "not knowing what is happening on a day to day basis in the town."
His advice to new officers - "keep your nose clean." Wohlgemuth said with social media people are watching your actions all the time. "Present yourself well - be truthful and honest - [you will] never get hung up if you do it that way."
"The biggest thing I've learned is to be truthful, to be able to look yourself in the mirror everyday and to treat people the way you would want to be treated and that's worked for me for the last 27 years," Wohlgemuth said.