October 21, 2021

Longtime city police sergeant retires

Sgt. Sweeney's retirement ceremony

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Sgt. Patrick Sweeney of the Cortland Police Department hugs his daughter Hailey Sweeney at his retirement ceremony Thursday outside of the police department.

As Sgt. Patrick Sweeney retired Thursday from the Cortland Police Department, Lt. Michael Strangeway recalled a simple routine the two established over Sweeney’s 30-year career.

“I’ll miss having coffee with him every morning in my office,” Strangeway said. “Today included.”

The two would discuss politics, Sweeney’s grandchildren and bourbon, though “not necessarily in that order,” Strangeway said.

About 20 people, including members of the Police Deparment, Cortland Fire Department and Sweeney’s family, celebrated Sweeney’s retirement, with a final send-off broadcast over police walkie-talkies, thanking him for his service and wishing him the best for the future.

“It’s been wonderful,” Sweeney said. “I can’t imagine having any different kind
of career.”

Sweeney will be a security guard at the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse come Monday, he said.

His decision to retire from the department came from wanting something new.

“I’ve been around a lot longer than most of these guys have been alive so it’s time to do something different,” the 59-year-old said.

Sweeney began his career in 1990 as patrolman before working in the records division and the detective bureau, where he spent the past 17 years, he said.

His duties included collect-ing and moving and recording evidence, said Deputy Chief Paul Sandy.

“Without his documentation of where everything was, which usually plays out in a trial, things could have gone very differently,” Sandy said.

Sandy said he’ll miss the conversations with Sweeney about grandchildren and deer hunting.

“Every time we lose one, we gain one, because it makes room for a new officer to come on the job that wants to pursue this career so it’s always a good thing,” Sandy said. As for retirement? “He’ll enjoy it and I wish him nothing but the best.”