continued After graduation, Perkins joined the Camillus Police Department as an officer. In the early 1970s, he married his wife Anne and they moved to a house in Onondaga, where they still live.
Perkins spent 35 years in the Camillus Police Department working up through the ranks from officer, to detective, detective sergeant, staff sergeant, lieutenant, captain and, ultimately, chief from 1995 to 2005.
During his years on the force in Camillus, Perkins experienced and learned numerous lessons. The most fun he had was as a motorcycle officer riding a Harley around the streets. “That was a great time,” he said. He loved his years as a detective, the challenge of taking a case and discovering the perpetrator. There was no one great satisfying moment for him during his years on the force, Perkins said, just “knowing that you did a good job and gave it your best, the conclusion that people are safer and the bad guy is off the street.”
But the job of the police is not all happy moments. It can also be frightening, stressful and disturbing, laced with terrible moments that can stick in the mind for the rest of one’s life.
“Child cases are the most disturbing,” Perkins said. “It’s the hardest thing to tell parents at three in the morning that their child is dead. It never goes away — you never forget that.”
Perkins has been shot at, has faced gunfire, knives and other weapons. But fear, he said, for most police is something that comes after. He recalled an incident when he was captain in Camillus of a “drug deal gone bad,” that included gunfire and hostages. Twelve shots were fired, nobody was hit and the perpetrators were caught.
“A situation like that, your training kicks in, you do the job, and when it’s over that’s when you think about it,” Perkins said.