Lt. Robert Burns with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office will retire next month after 27 years.
At a presentation to honor him today, county commission chairman Kelly Parks began his remarks to Burns by calling him “Sergeant.”
That drew laughs across the room, especially from Burns’ family, but Parks didn’t know why at the time.
When it was his turn to talk, Burns quickly pointed out that it was unfortunate he was being demoted just as he was retiring. That also drew laughs.
Parks, the former police chief of Valley Center, apologized, explaining to Burns that he remembered working with him when he was, indeed, a sergeant.
Then the mood turned touching as Burns spoke about his nearly three decades with the department and about the people who gave him a chance when he didn’t weigh enough to become a law enforcement officer.
In tears, Burns called his wife, Sharon, to his side at the front of the room. “This is my partner,” he said, telling commissioners nothing in his career would have been possible without her.
That drew applause.