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Twenty-five years on the SWAT team was enough for Lt. Gary Moody. The same goes for Lt. Chris Lane, another longtime officer who served as an undercover narcotics officer during his 21 years with the Columbus Police Department.
And they will be missed, their colleagues say. The CPD is losing two officers from the old school, Lt. Matt Myers said.
“What I mean by that is they put the Columbus Police Department first, their unit first, and then their family and then themselves,” Myers said. “We have very few officers like that now.”
Moody will retire today and Lane on Sept. 21.
Lane, 43, doesn’t know if he’d consider putting work first a good thing. Efforts made to exceed job expectations sometimes came at the expense of spending time with his wife, Connie, and two sons, David and Blake.
“I missed a lot of my kids growing up,” he said. “When I look back on it, I kind of second guess. If I could turn back the clock, I think I would have done things a little different.”
Moody, 51, operated under the same set of priorities, and he admits it probably upset his wife, Kelly, and their two children, Roarke and Reilly.
But there was work to be done.
“When everything goes bad ... (the SWAT team is) who they call,” Moody said. “That was something I took a lot of pride in.”
Moody, a Columbus native, started his CPD career in 1986, but he got his first feel for the rush of police work a few years before, when his neighbor, longtime CPD officer Richard Funch, took him on a ride-along.
Nothing particularly exciting happened, Moody recalled, unless you consider responding to a burglary, settling a bar fight and saving an infant’s life to be exciting.
“(Funch) gave CPR to an infant,” Moody said. “I just remember thinking, ‘How would someone know what to do?’ And afterward, (Funch) wasn’t overly excited. I thought, ‘This guy knows what’s going on.’”
One of Moody’s biggest on-the-job thrills came in July 2005. The SWAT team raided a hostage situation at Centra Credit Union on Union Street, ending a three-hour standoff.
“A hostage situation is kind of worst-case scenario,” Moody said.
But Moody’s career wasn’t always fueled by diesel. It had lighter moments. Along with serving as a SWAT commander and a narcotics detective, Moody taught defensive tactics for the department and reached the rank of uniform captain — as did Lane.
“I will tell you this: Whoever fills those positions that they’re in has big shoes to fill,” Myers said, “because these guys have done outstanding.”
As an undercover officer, Lane helped crack down on crack in the late 1990s. He’s spent recent years fighting to stop methamphetamine.
“Probably my most rewarding time would have been those years, when I was working narcotics,” Lane said. “I had people who I’d arrested, who came back to say thanks for saving their lives.”
Lane and Moody traveled similar paths in their police careers, and they’re trekking similar ways forward. They’re both going to work as gaming agents for state casinos.
Lane is heading near his hometown of Paoli to work at the French Lick Casino. Moody’s destination is Rising Sun.
“(Moody) told me last week that he was going to take his son to a Colts game,” Myers said Monday. “But SWAT had a standby, and he didn’t get to take his kid. Well, you know what, he’s earned that time. ... They’ve done what they’re supposed to. Now, (Moody) can take his kid to the Colts game. (Lane) can spend time with his family.”
The department is inviting the public to attend retirement ceremonies for Moody and Lane. Moody’s is scheduled for today, and Lane’s will be Sept. 14. Both are slated to start at 2:30 p.m. at the CPD.
“The community is welcome to come in,” Myers said. “We’ll have cake and punch, tell some stories and just acknowledge their efforts.”
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