One Verona resident celebrated a 45-year anniversary of keeping the city safe on Tuesday, March 10.

During the monthly staff meeting at the Verona Police Department on Tuesday, Feb. 25, City of Verona police officer Gordon “Gordy” Disch was honored with a recognition lunch for his 45 years of service to the community, which he told the Press he was “totally surprised by.”

Disch started his policing career in Verona in 1975. While Disch, who has lived in Verona for only slightly less time than he’s been with the department, left his full-time position in 1979, he’s continued to work there part-time ever since.

Disch reduced his hours with the department to work in Dane County Sheriff Department’s traffic police unit, and he later served as a sergeant on its Narcotics and Gang Task Force. He retired eight years ago from the DCSO.

In retirement, he’s continued working part-time for the city of Verona’s department, assisting by filling shifts as needed to provide other officers more time off.

Disch said a lot has changed in his four decades as a resident and has seen it grow from a village with less than 2,000 people to a city of more than 10,000 residents, while still keeping true to its “Hometown USA” feel.

“Where I came from in Madison, other than in your own neighborhood, you don’t know anyone,” he said. “Here it seems like in stores and everyday settings people recognize you and are friendly and welcoming.”

Disch said that while criminal activity has increased in Verona significantly during his years of service, it comes in spurts, and the department has been able to adapt well to the increased crime that comes with a larger population.

Disch isn’t sure when he’ll finally fully retire as an officer, despite being semi-retired for eight years, but noted that it’s been his coworkers at the department that keep him going as a police officer, calling every day a new learning experience.

“I can’t even begin to speculate on retirement. I haven’t put a date on when I will quit entirely, as that is the work ethic I was raised with,” he said. “My body and mind will tell me when it’s time to quit.”

Disch said his career as an officer and sergeant have always been guided by the golden rule.

“My philosophy for survival in this profession is to treat others the way you want to be treated – with dignity and respect – regardless of the circumstances,” he said.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.