Wednesday was jeans day for Rick Deets.
No more yellow striped pants for this retiring Mountie. No more lid, and no more gun, as he counts down his last days with the force.
Retiring as a staff sergeant from the Surrey RCMP next Monday after serving more than 45 years as a police officer, Deets turned in his 9 mm sidearm on Tuesday.
During all his years spent serving and protecting, he only had to fire his gun once.
That was back in 1968, when he was a constable with the Regina Police. It was during a gas station robbery. A guy thrust a knife at him just as he was coming around a corner, Deets recalled.
"I was surprised." The young officer yanked out his .38, squeezed off a round and the bullet hit the pavement between the guy's legs.
The robber wasn't hit, but he did fill his pants - number one and number two.
"I was glad I never shot him." Deets will retire as the longest serving officer with the Surrey detachment.
He joined Surrey as a corporal on Dec. 16, 1987, after serving in various other communities, and stuck it out here. There's a lot more paper work now, he said in reflection. A lot more traffic, and of course, technology.
"When I first started there was an old radio and one bulb on the roof," he recalled of the patrol cars.
"Now there's enough switches inside to make you go crazy."
Deets first became a police officer on July 4, 1966, starting with the Regina Police. Born and raised in the Prairies, he doesn't miss the snow and bugs.
"But I still cheer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders - Go Green!"
Since Regina, he's served as a plainclothes cop, headed a "myriad" of different sections, was a watch commander, commander of Whalley's District 1 cop station, and will retire as Surrey's administration NCO - a job he's been doing since 2004, dealing with civil claims against the force, some budget stuff and destroying exhibits.
But his best time was the six years he spent as Whalley's district commander.
"I loved it. It was the best time of my life," he said, adding he appreciated the "earthbound" people he met there.
"Whalley's the best place to work." His plans for retirement?
"I'm just going to hang around Surrey," he said. Deets will walk his Welsh Corgis, read and enjoy his huge movie collection.
"I love it here. I'm just going to stay here until the maker calls me."
That is, if he manages to survive the roasting his fellow Mounties have planned for him today at the Guildford golf course.
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