Beloved Portsmouth school resource officer retiring after 45 years


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A local auxiliary police officer is hanging it up after decades of work with the police department.

Richard Huneycutt first started working with the Portsmouth Police Department as a street officer in 1974. At the time, he was also working as a school teacher and coach in the city.

This year marks 45 years with the department.

“I’m a volunteer. We don’t get paid. Actually when I came on, they said I would get paid $2 a year. I still haven’t seen it,” he joked outside of James Hurst Elementary, where he said goodbye to students before their holiday break on Friday.

Huneycutt serves as a school resource officer there and has worked at every school in the district. He became the district’s first school resource officer back in 1992.

But that’s not the only “first” he’s accomplished.

“I became the first mounted patrol. I started the mounted patrol with my own horse,” he said.

One of the department’s horses, Moose, and many officers joined Huneycutt on his last day at the school, including Dan Summerell, the auxiliary bureau commander.

“He knows the schools in the city inside and out. The children love him. The students love him, but 45 years — he needs that break now,” Summerell said.

He says Huneycutt and his wealth of knowledge will be missed, especially since many officers were also his students in school.

“It’s a loss but he’s passed on a lot of knowledge too.He says if we need him, he’s a phone call away. We will still be benefiting from his service,” he said.

On top of his 45 years of service with the police department and receiving Portsmouth’s First Citizen recognition, Officer of the Year and multiple life-saving awards, Huneycutt also volunteered with the Portsmouth Fire Department for 17 years prior to joining the police department.

That means he’s volunteered for 62 years in total.

While he’s still deciding on what to do next, he does plan to work the holiday.

“I’ve done just about everything they wanted me to do. I’ve worked Christmas Day for 45 straight years now, and I plan on working Christmas day to make it 46,” he said.

Huneycutt’s last day is Dec. 31.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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