When Lt. John Zook started his career with the Alexandria Police Department at age 21, Alexandria did not have any Metro stations, and police officers still occasionally used call boxes because they did not have cellphones. Those were some of the many changes he saw during his career, which ended on April 1 with his retirement.
Zook served in Alexandria for 33 years, most recently as the executive officer for the traffic and special events division.
"You develop some pretty strong friendships with people, not just in the department, but in the city itself," Zook said.
He said two highlights of his time in Alexandria were being able to work with a K-9 police dog and in the street crimes unit.
"It's been a great career. The police department's been a great place to work," he said. "It was kind of tough leaving."
Motor Officer Dave Robinson retired from the force on the same day, after 25 years of service.
When he began, Robinson said he had two aspirations: to be part of the traffic unit and to join the SWAT team. He accomplished both and served part-time on the SWAT team until 2010. For the final seven years, he led the sniper team.
"Everything I wanted to do in law enforcement I was able to," Robinson said. "I don't have any regrets."
Robinson declined the department's traditional retirement send-off by the motor unit because he had another idea: He gathered about a dozen current and former motor officers, and they rode their motorcycles together to visit injured Motor Officer Peter Laboy, who was shot during a traffic stop on Feb. 27 and is recovering at a rehabilitation center.
"It was great. He's doing very well," Robinson said. "It was a blessing for me."
Both Robinson and Zook said they would be looking for a different kind of work after retirement.