"My mother, who was a very wise woman once said, 'Gary, you're always going to go through transitions in your life,' and this is one of those transitions." So said retiring Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel, whose upcoming transition will end a 36-year career in the Syracuse Police Department.
The Solvay native, now a resident of Marcellus, where he raised his family, announced his retirement in November.
"Thirty-six years -- that's a lifetime. I started when I was 21. I had just graduated from Syracuse University in the spring of 1973 and that fall I started in the police academy."
Miguel says that "I really didn't know what I wanted to do. After graduating from Solvay High School, my first two years I went to Onondaga Community College. I was in liberal arts, not in any criminal justice program, but as an elective I took a criminal justice course. It was really interesting -- it turned out to be my favorite course, and I took another one second semester. I said to myself that this might be something I could be interested in.
"Then, when I transferred to Syracuse University for my junior year, I became aware of a federal program called the Criminal Justice Intern Program where they were trying to draw college graduates into the law enforcement field. They had a criminal justice program where you wrote a term paper, and they took the best term papers and gave those kids a summer job in some aspect of the criminal justice field. I ended up riding 40 hours a week for four weeks with the Syracuse Police Department, 40 hours a week for four weeks with the Onondaga County Sheriff's department, and two weeks of 40 hours a week with the East Syracuse Police Department. When I got done with that program I not only knew that I wanted to be a police officer, but I also knew where. I wanted to be a police officer with the Syracuse Police Department.