ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – A long-time Abilene police officer is retiring after 20 years of service; but, Lieutenant Lynn Beard is trading in one passion for another. 

We joined Lt. Beard on one of his final patrol shift before retirement. We asked him what he would tell himself if he could go back 20 years when he first started with APD.

“First think I’d tell myself is, drive a little better,” Lt. Beard laughs. “I wrecked a few police cars when I was new. I was over-enthusiastic.”

It’s safe to say Lt. Beard has influenced many people throughout his time at the Abilene Police Department.

“He’s not shy,” Sgt. Nikki Hill says. “He’s a good leader. He’s been a strong mentor for a lot of people.”

Sgt. Will Ford knew Beard before he applied for APD, but the department is where their friendship really took off.

“I was on the oral interview board for the police department when he applied for the job,” Sgt. Ford explains. “I found him to be a very genuine person, a very down-to-earth person; but, he also struck me as one who really cared about people.”

All of those instincts were proven right. Sgt. Ford and Lt. Beard have been close friends throughout their time together. Sgt. Ford says anytime Lt. Beard comes into his office, he knows he’s going to laugh about something.

“If you’ve ever head him laugh, he has this big boisterous laugh and I’m going to miss it,” Sgt. Ford says. “He’s more than just a fellow police officer, he’s a friend and a brother to me.”

Now, he’ll get to watch as his friend transitions from one passion to another.

“Just like he was passionate about police work, he’s equally as passionate about aviation and flying,” Sgt. Ford explains.

Soon, Lt. Beard will be trading in his badge for his wings as he starts a new career as the General Manager at Abilene Aero.

“For all your charger needs, call General Manager Lynn Beard,” he laughs. 

Before he departs for his new career path, Lt. Beard says 20 years in law enforcement has taught him many things, and he offers a final piece of advice for his fellow officers.

“You’re going to be in difficult situations,” he says. “You’re going to be at the worst times of peoples lives and you have to be able to navigate those situations. The only way I know how to do it is with a sense of honor and a sense of character.”

A retirement reception is planned to honor Lt. Beard. It will be Wednesday, October 17th at the Abilene Convention Center at 2 pm.