Saturday, May 8, 2004

Badge passes, father to son

Joseph Gabbard gets dad's badge

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

HAMILTON - Long-time Butler County Sheriff Harold "Don" Gabbard and his former Hamilton Police Department detective badge - No. 248 - were in a familiar place Friday afternoon.

In an emotional ceremony at Hamilton Police headquarters, Gabbard handed the badge to his son, Joseph, who was promoted from Hamilton police officer to detective. Sheriff Gabbard spent 37 years as a Hamilton officer, retiring as a detective.

Several members of Gabbard's family and about a dozen Hamilton officers attended the short promotion ceremony. There were plenty of smiles and camera flashes as Gabbard christened the new detective.

The sheriff said it was an emotional moment to see his son follow in his footsteps.

"It touches me," said Sheriff Gabbard, who is not seeking re-election this year. "It's probably one of the greatest days of my life. Most any father, I would think, would be very proud."

Joseph Gabbard joined the Hamilton force in 1994. He finished first in a recent test for detective.

"I was a little nervous," Joseph said of having his father present him with the detective's badge. "I respect him a lot, the things he's done. I always thought that's what I wanted to do ... follow in his footsteps."

Hamilton Police Chief Neil R. Ferdelman, well aware of the history the Gabbards have with the department, knew the sheriff's participation would add to the presentation.

"I was more than pleased to do it," Sheriff Gabbard said. "I've been blessed."


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