JPD Chief Ed Mercer, Officer Kevin Fermin and Deputy Chief David Campbell pose for a group photo on Friday during Fermin’s retirement ceremony at the Juneau Police Department. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD Chief Ed Mercer, Officer Kevin Fermin and Deputy Chief David Campbell pose for a group photo on Friday during Fermin’s retirement ceremony at the Juneau Police Department. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD officer retires from department after 25 years

Over the course of a 25-year career with the Juneau Police Department, Officer Kevin Fermin touched lives inside and outside the department, and those contributions were celebrated during a retirement ceremony Friday at the Juneau Police Station.

“The thing I really want to do is thank him for the 25 years he gave to the city and to this department,” said Lt. Jeremy Weske. “Whether he was helping a citizen or helping one of us younger cops get through our own careers, I can’t really put into perspective or words the amount of sacrifice it takes to work as a police officer for that long, and for him to do it with a smile on his face every day, for the impact that he had on our town and our department, I just want to thank him.”

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin stands with Chief Ed Mercer while being presented with Fermin’s shadowbox, which is given to every officer at their retirement ceremony. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin stands with Chief Ed Mercer while being presented with Fermin’s shadowbox, which is given to every officer at their retirement ceremony. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

During his long career, Fermin accrued awards and distinctions.

In 2013, Fermin was awarded the Outstanding Police Service Medal for his involvement in a case the previous year where the suspect was firing a gun at officers, according to Deputy Chief David Campbell. Additionally, in 2015, Fermin received a Letter of Recognition from then-JPD Chief Bryce Johnson for his work assisting a man who was having a mental crisis and was refusing to leave his room. After Fermin took over negotiating with the man, he eventually surrendered and was able to receive the help he needed.

“It takes a special type of person to do this job and to be able to do it for 25 years.” said Police Chief Ed Mercer while addressing attendees during Friday’s ceremony. “I’ve always found Kevin to be a very steady police officer that served and cared for the community. His career in Juneau as a police officer has impacted many people’s lives in a positive way.”

Campbell provided a brief background of Fermin for the packed room of Fermin’s many friends, colleagues and family members.

JPD Officer Nick Garza addresses the large crowd of attendees at Officer Kevin Fermin’s retirement ceremony of Friday to share heart-warming stories of his time served in the department during Fermin’s 25 years of service. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD Officer Nick Garza addresses the large crowd of attendees at Officer Kevin Fermin’s retirement ceremony of Friday to share heart-warming stories of his time served in the department during Fermin’s 25 years of service. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

According to Campbell, Kevin grew up in Juneau and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1988. A couple years after returning from college in 1993, Fermin became interested in law enforcement and began training as a reserve officer with JPD. Fermin then applied as a full-time police officer and was hired on Aug. 4, 1997.

After two years, Fermin transferred to the Community Services Unit, where he served as a school resource officer for the following four years. As a School Resource Officer, Fermin was a Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor and coordinated various community events, such as Red Ribbon Week, Kid Safe and Bike Safety Rodeo.

Fermin then transferred back to patrol where he spent the majority of his remaining career. Additionally Fermin served as a Taser instructor, field training officer and a bike patrol officer.

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin poses with daughter Sami Martinez and family on Friday at the closing of Fermin’s retirement ceremony after 25 years of serving the Juneau community. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin poses with daughter Sami Martinez and family on Friday at the closing of Fermin’s retirement ceremony after 25 years of serving the Juneau community. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Following Campbell’s speech, Weske took to the lectern to share his thoughts on his time spent with Fermin and the invaluable experience he provided younger officers starting within the department.

Following Weske, Officer Nick Garza also provided touching words for his longtime friend and colleague. Garza shared a story of a time when the son of a former JPD officer who passed away while still working for the department. When it came time for that officer’s son to join the department as an officer, Fermin went well out of his way to ensure that he received his father’s pistol provided he were to make it through the application process.

Next, Fermin’s close friend Lance Mitchell spoke about first meeting Fermin through his wife and from that moment on, spending a number of Christmas dinners together.

“First you have to have a good soul and then you have to have a good heart, then everything is open for you if you have those tools and you care about people like he does, he has all of those qualities and then some,” Mitchell said.

Lastly, Fermin’s daughter Sami Martinez gave moving words regarding the anticipation felt by the entire family for Fermin to finally return home for good and simply be known as “dad.”

“We’ve been watching him for years slave away and break his back, body, mind and struggle with his heart and witnessing a lot of painful things, maybe the worst of the suffering you could witness, he’s been there firsthand for it while still being a good dad for all of us,” Martinez said. “I’m so proud of him that he pushed through this career, this is a really tough career and I’m really excited that he’s going to be all ours.”

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin speaks from the lectern to friends, colleagues and family members on Friday during his retirement ceremony at the Juneau Police Station. Fermin retires after serving 25 years with JPD. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JPD Officer Kevin Fermin speaks from the lectern to friends, colleagues and family members on Friday during his retirement ceremony at the Juneau Police Station. Fermin retires after serving 25 years with JPD. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

As Friday’s ceremony came to a close, Fermin said the reception was “overwhelming” and that while his retirement was a closing of one chapter, it was the opening of another at the same time.

“It’s kind of scary in a way that you do something day in and day out for as long and then you pretty much stop cold turkey,” Fermin said. “Talking with other retirees, they’ve told me the first couple of months feels like vacation and then it hits you, so they’ve kind of prepared me for that.”

Fermin said he’s hopeful to be in line for a part-time position within court service and should know for sure within the next couple of months. Above all else, Fermin said he’s mostly looking forward to being able to spend more time with his family.

When asked if he had any final parting thoughts for the community of Juneau, Fermin put on a big smile and simply replied, “We’re hiring.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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