After spending 40 years working for the city at the Shawnee Police Department, Hazel Bond bid farewell Friday to begin a new chapter in her life — retirement.
Tears were abundant at city hall during a retirement party in her honor, where current city employees and police officers, along with retired officers and other city employees, gathered to wish her well.
“It’s been a wonderful time and God has blessed me so much to be able to work with such fine people,” a tearful Bond said to the crowd.
“It’s hard to say good-bye so I won’t plan on saying good-bye, I’ll just say ‘see ya later,’” she said, making a wave. “I wish the best for all of you all — be safe out there and I love you all.”
Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz said Bond has seen the department evolve in the last 40 years, from the original hand-written way of cataloging police reports merging into early-day computers and on to what they use today.
She served many years as a jailer when the city had one in the city hall basement, but Bond, in the records division, was best known as being a mentor to the department’s police officers, many who called her “Momma Hazel.”
“I don’t know how many officers she’s seen come and go over the years…Hazel has mentored many of the young officers,” Frantz said.
Shawnee Police Sgt. Bricen Mohr thanked Bond for always being there for the officers and being “more like a mom” to them.
“For me and many other officers, we didn’t know her as Hazel Bond..she was ‘Momma Hazel,’” he said. “And just like a mother, she was always encouraging.”
As memories of times passed were shared, many said she was a good friend to everyone.
Somewhat emotional about the farewell himself, Frantz said Bond was the first one to show him around the police department when he started working there early in his career.
“And when I became chief, she was a supervisor’s dream,” he said, because Bond knew her job and could do it well.
And through both good times and bad, Frantz said Bond has always had a great attitude and a wonderful smile.
“We’re all sad to see her leave,” the chief said.
Several from the standing-room only crowd in the commission chambers spoke about Bond, including retired officer Richard Wakeman, who shared a story and said Bond was always there when officers needed her help.
Barbara Degman, who also retired not too long ago from the police records division, said she and Bond spent 23 years working together.
“She was my best friend from the beginning,” Degman said, adding the city is going to be at a loss without Bond because “she is wonderful.”
Bond plans to enjoy her retirement by spending more time with her family.