A few tears were shed at Wollongong Police Station on Thursday morning when officers of all ranks gathered to say goodbye to a favourite member of their team.
It was Senior Constable Anthony Riordan's last day on the job after 30 years of service to the NSW Police Force. The last 24 in the Illawarra.
Also present were members of his family.
Daughter Nicole Yendle sait it was an emotional day for everyone.
"We are so proud of him and all his accomplishments and achievements. And how his colleagues spoke of him," Mrs Yendle said.
"He is not only a great police officer. He has also been such a great father".
Senior Constable Riordan joined the NSW Police Force in 1987 and was initially stationed at Sutherland performing general duties.
He then spent two years at Sutherland and Engadine before resigning in 1989 and re-joining in 1992 at the Waverly Patrol where a close friendship with superintendent Chris Craner began.
He was promoted to Constable First Class in 1992 before transferring to Wollongong Patrol as a Senior Constable in 1995.
Senior Constable Riordan achieved Leading Senior Constable designation in 2002 and spent countless hours relieving in the busy role of general duties sergeant but turned down an opportunity to be promoted to sergeant so he could stay in the Illawarra.
In addition to his other police duties he was also a member of the Illawarra Police Rescue Squad from 1998 and was involved in search and rescue operations.
He received a Commander's Commendation for his efforts in the 2001-2002 bushfires and was awarded a Region Commander Unit Citation for a rescue operation involving a deceased woman and her injured child below Robinsons Lookout at Mount Keira in 2002.
He was awarded the National Police Medal in 2015 for his distinguished service and has been recognised by Wollongong Police District as being 100 per cent reliable and dependable.
A guard of honour was formed outside Wollongong Police Station as a bagpipe played on his departure accompanied by a big round of applause for a job well done.
Earlier both he and some of the region's highest ranking officers got a little emotional as they relived his career and said their goodbyes.
Chief Inspector Mark Walker described him as "one of the most reliable operators you would ever want to have". And a Police officer who helped save many lives and trained dozens of probationary constables. And helping them by what he called turning the knowledge they had learned at Goulburn Police Academy into street policing.
"Personal attributes is what makes Tony one of the best colleagues you could have. He is 100 per cent reliable, 100 per cent dependable and can do just about anything. I would like to congratulate you on behalf of everyone".
Chief Inspector Paul Allman spoke on behalf of Lake Illawarra Police officers to thank Senior Constable Riordan for everything he had done with Police Rescue in the Illawarra.
"I had the pleasure of working with Police Rescue and we did some huge jobs together over many years. I had the pleasure of working along side you and I have never seen you get cranky. You are a true gentleman and you are a true loss to our organisation".
Also present for the farewell was Assistant Commissioner Joe Cassar.
Wollongong Police District Commander Chief Superintendent Chris Craner said he and senior constable Riordan met in their 20's and became great mates. He said he has always known him to be a man of great integrity.
"It is not very often you get to do someone's last day of service. And with someone who is your mate it is pretty special," he said.
"Everyone in this room knows his integrity has always been first rate. And he has been a great mentor to me. I am proud of our friendship. I want to congratulate you mate".
Senior Constable Riordan said he didn't regret leaving the Police force earlier in his career to go bricklaying for a few years because it gave him a better appreciation for what the Police had to offer.
"I had left behind a great job and I realised that after I was out for a year or so," he said.
Senior Constable Riordan got emotional when he spoke about his friendship with Supt Craner and his family that developed in Waverly in the early 90's. And as he said goodbye to his workmates. Who he calls his Police family.
"I loved my rescue work and I loved the people I worked with," he said.
Senior Constable Riordan also spoke of how he loved watching probationary constables he worked with to help train on the job get their first stripe and becoming a constable.
"That was so rewarding for me," he said.
"I loved that period of my life in training and being a front line police officer.
"I have certainly enjoyed my career and the people I have worked with.
"I love the team environment in policing. It is a job where I have always treated everyone here as my extended family.
"And it was not just at this station (Wollongong). At Lake Illawarra I made some wonderful friends down there at Police Rescue. They are a wonderful bunch of people and they deserve a lot of credit for what they do and how they go about their task.
"I didn't want to get emotional. I just want to say I have been very proud and honoured to be a member of the police force. And I have been very proud and honoured to work here in the Illawarra among like-minded people. I am thankful and grateful to you all".