Cleburne Police Chief Rob Severance jokingly promoted Cpl. Dennis Ney on Thursday. Not that Ney, who retired the same day, had long to enjoy his new posting.
“I called Dennis up and said, ‘By all the power vested in me, and some that’s not, I hereby designate you as an honorary colonel of the Cleburne Police Department,’” Severance said. “He and I talked about that off and on in jest so I thought I’d formalize it on this occasion. I said of course that it’s not a budgeted position so I’m going to need you to forfeit the rest of your salary for today.
“Now that I think about it, I should have brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with me. Actually, we should put him out at our new KFC. That place is busy. They could use some traffic control.”
The Cleburne Police Department, of course, has no rank of colonel.
“Now we just need to get an admiral,” Severance joked.
Thursday functioned as a retirement both of the officer and the rank.
“Dennis was CPD’s last corporal as that rank has now been phased out,” Severance said.
Fellow police officers, city officials and family and friends gathered Thursday at Cleburne City Hall to congratulate Ney on his years of service and to send him off in style.
Ney joined the department in 1996 and went on to serve in a number of roles throughout his more than 20 years of service.
It all began not in the Lone Star state but rather in Jersey.
“Third generation New Jersey,” Ney said. “I used to fish just down the street from a club where Bruce Springsteen played before he got famous. Never got a chance to see him live though.”
A family friend who also happened to be a motorcycle officer for the Pleasantville Police Department became a mentor to the then young Ney.
“He ended up being chief up there later,” Ney said. “I was always impressed by him and knew through that that being a police officer was kind of what I always wanted to do.”
At 18 Ney joined the U.S. Army and served as a military police officer for nine years.
California called afterward. Ney hired on with the California Highway Patrol where he worked for 11 years.
Ney also worked security on several movie sets and even showed up in a few including “Sliver,” a 1993 movie starring William Baldwin and Sharon Stone.
“She was hot,” Ney said.
Ney can be spotted in a restaurant scene seated at the table next to Baldwin and Stone’s.
Ney said he relocated to Texas after a friend talked up the benefits of the great state and soon after found himself working at CPD.
After stints in patrol and other positions Ney worked his way up to detective and has for the past several years overseen the department’s financial crimes unit.
It’s a duty Ney said he will miss and one that’s resulted in lasting friendships and quite a few victories in the win column.
“Cleburne’s the longest place I’ve ever worked as an officer so I’ll miss it,” Ney said. “I enjoyed my time here and think I’ve accomplished a few things with the fraud and theft investigations. Fraud doesn’t stay in one city so I got to work with other agencies in North Texas, the FBI and other federal agencies. Working together we were able to get a lot of bad guys off the street.”
He’ll be missed, Severance said.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Dennis over the last seven years I’ve been here,” Severance said. “He’s a great professional and an exceptional investigator. I, and I know everyone else, is really going to miss seeing him everyday. But we hope he stops by often to see us and he’ll always be part of the CPD family.”
CPD Sgt. Kelly Summey agreed.
“I worked with Dennis all of my career, both as a motor officer and in investigations,” Summey said. “Dennis has always been committed to the people of Cleburne and his coworkers. As a fraud investigator, he had a large case load. He built relationships with banks, credit card companies and other investigators to provide the best evidence to prosecutors. His knowledge and his attitude for getting the job done will be missed.”
Although he’ll miss CPD, Ney said he looks forward to the next chapter.
“Lots of fishing and golf,” Ney replied when asked what’s next.