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Final sign off for Irmo Police Chief Don Perry: a moving tribute to a great man

Irmo, SC (Paul Kirby) – In late July of 2020, the Town of Irmo announced that Chief Don Perry was retiring after 25 years of dedicated service to the people of South Carolina as a law enforcement officer. Most of his career was spent at the Irmo Police Department where he climbed through the ranks, finally obtaining the department’s highest rank, chief.

At 17:00 hours, or 5:00 p.m. in civilian time, on Friday, July 31, 2020, Chief Perry left the Irmo Police Department for the last time as its chief and officially signed off the radio headed home. Unless you’ve heard one of these final calls, only a few who could listen would know how meaningful this last radio call is to the men and the women of the department. These are the people who have worked with and served under Chief Perry for years.

At the appointed time, the department’s dispatch center, in this case Lexington County’s Central Communications Center, asked all officers on the North Region Municipal PD network or Irmo’s dispatch frequency to stand by for a special announcement. Afterward, the dispatcher reads a prepared notice that included the officer’s years of service, his special accomplishments and often recognitions received during his tenure. It also includes a heartfelt thanks on behalf of the department and from everyone who has worked with the retiring officer after so many years. Then, the dispatcher accepts and announces the retiree’s final 10-42, the code for off duty and for most, at home.

Within seconds of that call Friday, Irmo officers begin keying their mics and calling their retiring comrade and commander. They offered their own personal congratulations and thanks for the working relationship they had with their retiring chief. These are often more personal messages, a reminder that they were and always will be a family. There may be a few words that will bring a smile, an “inside joke” if you will, something that only they would understand. Almost all end with a statement like, “Enjoy your retirement, you earned it.” It’s very moving and a personal time of a reflection on many years of service for the men and women who worked so hard together. If you’re just listening, your instinct tells you that perhaps you should stand, remove your hat, and most certainly remain silent.

Chief Perry is a remarkable man. He was known for his even temperament, steadiness under pressure, and his ability to see and develop a vision for the future without forgetting his ties to the past. You can read all about his distinguished career by following this link to the Irmo Police Department’s Facebook page, Irmo PD on Facebook.

On that same page, take a second more and get to know Chief Courtney Dennis on that same page. His swearing in or changing of the guard is also featured there. The former Irmo PD captain has accepted the promotion to now become the chief. He is already a great leader and will do a wonderful job at the helm of the department.

Now, as usually happens, a round of promotions and new hires come up. Chief Dennis has already begun that process. For even though only one left and one was promoted, more who have been waiting in the wings will fill a job and leave one open. It will be an exciting time for the Irmo police Department.

Goodbye for now Chief Perry and good luck Chief Dennis. We know that Irmo will remain safe well into the future.

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