Veteran Cop Breaks Down Crying as He Signs Off on Radio for Final Time


It is not unusual to see a story about a cop making the rounds on social media. Sometimes it involves an accusation of wrongdoing and sometimes it involves an act of the officer’s heroism.

While this story took place on Sep. 15, 2017, Officer Dave Shelton’s wife, Barb, didn’t go public with it, via her Honeycomb Oasis blog, until Jan. 9, 2018.

A number of those sharing it have noted that you will need a tissue handy to get through it.

In her introduction to the story, Barb explained that it is a tradition for retiring officers “to say something a little extra for their final sign-off.” Dave had served for 39 years as a police officer and was retiring from the Kelso, Washington, Police Department.

Prior to his emotional sign-off as the department’s longest-serving officer, some things were set up to help send him off in a wonderful way.

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The different hand-designed paper cup filled with coffee Barb sent him off with each morning was created by everyone in their family writing and drawing on it for his final day.

Then, not only did Barb get to be present for his final sign-off, but son-in-law Sam Sanden got to capture it on video.

Their daughter, Sharnessa, shared her thoughts about the whole thing and its importance in her mom’s blog.

Sharnessa wrote, “I am so excited about this video as there is so much junk that’s shared about cops, it’s sickening. Unfortunately it’s usually the few corrupt jerks who get the attention.”

She added, “…But I want people to get a glimpse into the heart of what MOST cops are like by watching a man with thick skin and a tender heart choke back tears through his entire final sign-off. [,,,] THIS is the kind of thing about our cops that needs to go viral!”

According to Inside Edition, both Dave and Barb commented on how Dave is normally an emotional guy, with Dave admitting it has not been a secret. “People know that I’m that way.” Barb elaborated, stating that “He can cry easily at things that are sweetly touching, but he’s also very tough and strong.”

Dave shared why he got so choked up on his sign-off. “To me, it’s the end of an era. For 39 years you’ve gone out there to help people and all of the sudden that’s coming to an end.”

Dave and Barb’s son, Tory, is also a cop, working for the nearby town of Longview’s police department.

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His department also got in on the act of honoring Dave by sharing their own message of appreciation attached to the Kelso Police Department’s Facebook post.

The Kelso Police Department’s Facebook post drew dozens of comments of appreciation from the public, many of whom lived in the area and had interacted with Dave. Some knew him from his participation in the D.A.R.E. program, and many shared how much they looked up to him and thought the world of him.

In his sign-off, Dave had mentioned ziplining. For the curious, Barb shared in her blog that the whole family going on a ziplining adventure is just one of the many things Dave has been up to in his well-deserved retirement.

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