Allenhurst Police Sgt.James Rogers is pictured with his daughter Meghan, his wife Angela and son James during his last day on the force.
By WILLIAM CLARK
Police Sgt. James Rogers walked out of the Allenhurst municipal building at three in the afternoon June 30 in his uniform and sunglasses. Borough police cruisers lined the drive and officers were exchanging pleasantries with each other.
Then the bagpipes started to play.
Belmar’s Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh were there to play mark Rogers’s 25 years in law enforcement.
The sun beat down warm enough for most of the 60 family and friends to take cover under the building’s awning, welcoming the cool breeze off the ocean. Each of them leaned over the railing, offering congratulations and well wishes to the Allenhurst native.
When Rogers got to the end of the line, he turned and made his way to the first cruiser and hopped inside. There, he made his final call to dispatch.
“105 to Allenhurst, signing off after 25 years,” he said before exiting the vehicle, raising his hands to the crowd of well wishers. “That’s it!” he yelled to an ovation.
Rogers’s wife, Angela, and his two children, James and Meghan, surrounded him holding flowers and a sign as he took pictures.
Angela addressed the crowd, thanking the chief and his fellow officers. But much of the those there were made up of his family, led by his mother Mary Katherine, and the families of his 13 brothers and sisters.
“It was really special to me working for my hometown,” Rogers said. “The thing is, Allenhurst is such a small town with a small police department. We all rely on each other. It’s more of a family than a work thing.”
As a young man, Rogers worked for the beach club in town before starting his career in law enforcement.
“After 40 years, I might be able to take a summer off,” he joked.
During her remarks, Angela described her husband in a way that family friend Judy Seger had done, saying Rogers has a heart of gold. Something that was evident, she said, in how many people lined up outside of borough hall.
The crowd then walked down the block to Rogers’s mother’s house to celebrate his career.
Other officers will come in and continue to carry on the service that Rogers provided to the community. To those who follow in his footsteps, Rogers passed words of wisdom from a quarter century of experience.
“Just do your best,” he said. “All you can do is your best.”