Retiring Berlin Police Officer Recognized

Retiring Berlin Police Officer Recognized
Berlin Senior officer Claude Holland, third from left, was joined by family members and town officials at last week’s recognition event. Submitted Photo

BERLIN – Town officials honored Senior Officer Claude Holland upon his retirement last week.

Holland, who spent 14 years with the Berlin Police Department, retired Friday.

“Claude has been with the town since 2006,” Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said. “He has been instrumental over the years with the National Night Out event. He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Holland, who entered law enforcement in 1990, joined the Berlin Police Department in 2006. During his years in Berlin, he’s served as the department’s voice stress examiner and been a part of the department’s SWAT team.  Holland has also been instrumental in organizing the department’s annual National Night Out, an event that promotes police and community partnerships. Holland said community policing was a big part of his job during his time as an officer. He’s enjoyed developing relationships with the people of Berlin.

“I’m going to miss the people I’ve worked with—my second family,” he said. “I’ll also miss the daily contacts with people, just stopping and talking with them.”

Holland, whose retirement was prompted by the lingering effects of a 2015 spine injury, said the Berlin Police Department was the best place he’d ever worked. He credits that to Chief Arnold Downing.

“The chief is a great example of what a chief should be,” Holland said. “He’s probably the best person I ever worked for.”

Though eager to spend more time with his family, Holland was clearly emotional as he made his final radio call Friday.

“It’s not easy to walk away from a group of people you consider your family,” Holland said as he signed off. “I just hope in some small way I have made a little difference over the years in the way I have tried to do my job and carry myself. Before I sign off, I’d like every officer that’s listening to do what I have done every day for the last 30 years, and that’s to promise yourself each day that you will go home to your family. I hope you all know I would have sacrificed myself so that you could do just that…”

As Holland was honored upon his retirement Dec. 18, town officials also hosted a swearing in ceremony for newly hired Officer Jason Odegaard.

In other law enforcement news, Senior Officer Joseph Kerr was recognized this month as the 2020 Berlin Police Officer of the Year for his outstanding service to the community.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.