PENRITH police sergeant Neil Purvis retired last week after 42 years with the force.
Mr Purvis, 62, joined the police when he was 20, having worked in retail for five years.
"I remember leaving school on Friday, having my birthday Sunday and starting my first job Monday," he said.
"One day a mate I'd gone to school with came into the shop I worked in and said he'd joined the cops.
"I thought about it for a while and thought I'd try to do it."
He said he never regretted that decision.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed being in the police force," Mr Purvis said.
"It's not for everybody, but I've liked the comradeship and the people I've worked with.
"I've also got satisfaction out of teaching something to young people in the force; helping them and being a mentor."
His son and daughter have followed him into the police force and he feels proud of them.
But he said it was a pity that many young people did not seem to think of policing as a long-term career.
"People now have a variety of jobs they can do, so they often think about doing something else in a few years," Mr Purvis said.
He said it was true that police work could be dangerous, but he said that was true of many other occupations.
"A journalist might be sent to Iraq to cover a war; an electrician could be electrocuted working on a house," he said.
"But you apply the training you learnt to protect yourself and take as many precautions as you can."
He said that at 62 and having been in the same career for 42 years, now was the time to retire.
"I want to spend more time with my family and grandchildren," Mr Purvis said.
"I've enjoyed it, but all good things must come to an end sometime."