The Mesquite Police Department in Mesquite, Texas, witnessed the end of a 33-year career for one of its police captains – and the start of a tour for another.

The catch – the two are father and son.

Retiring Captain Paul Pecena spent his last day before retirement patrolling the city with Will, his 24-year-old son. Will graduated from the academy in July 2020, and because it was his father’s last day, he was given permission to be his dad’s final patrol partner. Leslie, Paul’s wife and Will’s mom, visited the police station to support both of them.

“I’m so proud of my husband and the job he has done,” Leslie said in an interview with WFAA, “And even more emotional about my son. But we need good men like him.”

Captain Pecena ended his shift by providing Will with words of wisdom and exhorting him to keep his humanity.

“Remember that the proof of that is for every person that might curse you, there’s 20 more of the good citizens here in Mesquite who will bless you and thank you for what you do,” Paul said.

Though Captain Pecena has signed off for the last time, his son is excited to continue into a long career of service. Will has wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps since he was 16. He was previously an intern with Focus on the Family.

“My dad was the biggest influence in me wanting to be a police officer,” Will told The Daily Citizen in a statement. “Seeing how committed my dad was to police work while still being committed to my family showed me how to have a good work/life balance. I hope to continue walking in his footsteps for my whole career.”

“Working with the security team as an intern helped to confirm that I was going into the right career. I loved the men I worked with and their advice as former police officers has stayed with me,” he added.

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