Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Jokes were flying around Port Neches Municipal Court like a comedy roast on Friday as Police Capt. Paul Watson was honored for his 36 years of service during a retirement party.
The light hearted banter began with City Manager Andrè Wimer commenting on a fictional hand ailment of Watson’s, including a fake X-ray showing a finger injury and some ribbing about the police captains personality.
Watson didn’t miss a beat though and quickly added he saw an announcement of his retirement party on the city’s Facebook page.
“In like 30 to 40 minutes people were liking the fact I was leaving,” Watson said with a laugh.
Watson isn’t leaving empty handed. He was presented with a watch from the city by Wimer and a plaque from FBI-Beaumont Supervisory Specialist Scott Bauer for his work on the South East Texas Safe Streets Task Force. Fellow Agent David Sutherland took this time to jokingly let the well wishers know what Watson does during his shift.
“He stands outside his truck, smokes a cigarette, then says ‘let’s get ‘em,’” Sutherland said.
Watson, a Beaumont native who graduated from South Park High School, started his career with PNPD on Sept. 16, 1976. He has served with four different chiefs of police; Charles Bennefield, Les McCoy, Gene Marsh and Paul Lemoine; and retired with the rank of assistant chief.
Talk about interesting police cases fell to the wayside but Watson did give some insight into his early days on the force.
“There was no ‘good time’ radio in the cars, not even AM,” he said from an office inside the police station prior to his retirement party. So Watson brought along a portable radio and placed it in the car. “We had bubble glass overheads and the cars could outrun the sirens.”
The sirens, he added, were basically audible from the rear of the vehicle only.
And while some things have changed, such as technology, others remain the same such as the number of officers per shift.
“These guys have done remarkably well with the manpower we have,” he said before adding kudos to Chief Paul Lemoine for his excellent job.
Police work is in Watson’s blood — his grandfather was Capt. Doyle Wingate of the Beaumont Police Department. He remembers hearing tales of Wingate chasing after Bonnie and Clyde but has never seen any evidence to prove the stories.
Watson will officially retire on Jan. 31. He and his wife, Melissa, are the new owners of a recreational vehicle and the couple plans to travel.