The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Leonard “Rock” Roccaforte is packing up his office and getting ready for retirement.
The longtime constable for precinct 2 will officially retire on Dec. 31 after 27 years of service.
Also retiring along with Roccaforte is his friend and co-worker, Deputy Constable Phillip Swan Jr.
A retirement party was held for the two men Thursday morning in the courtroom of Marc DeRouen, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2.
Roccaforte and Swan mingled about the courtroom speaking with friends, family and co-workers while sharing memories and refreshments. Two special cakes made for the men shed some light into their lives. Roccaforte’s cake was adorned with hunting decor and a deer while Swan’s cake had a rendering of a horse.
On the judges desk was a bowl of Goldfish crackers and two framed pieces of paper with notes and a cartoon photo of a goldfish. Pauline Barker, who works at the Port Arthur Police Department, explained that the men are known to walk out of the courthouse to the pond and feed the resident goldfish during breaks.
Roccaforte looked back at his tenure in office. He spent 15 years working at Texaco refinery then, in the 1980’s came the lay-offs.
“It (constable) was something I had wanted to do before I went to work at Texaco,” Roccaforte said. “So I went to the academy and got certified. It’s been a great experience.”
Roccaforte was elected constable of precinct 2 in 1996. Prior to that he spent 10 years as deputy constable under Constable Tony Ippolito.
“In police work, no two days are ever the same. There’s always something new to do,” he said.
The Port Arthur native has plans for his retirement, he said.
“I have plans to buy a little farm in East Texas, a place to raise a few chickens and cows and grow a garden,” he said.
Roccaforte and his wife Kathy have a daughter, Shelly and a granddaughter, Brenna.
“I’d like to thank al of the people who have supported me through al the years,” he said. “I think I did a good job because I’ve been here so long. And my staff has been a tremendous help to us. I’ll miss them a whole lot.”
Swan said he has enjoyed the 16 years he has worked with Roccaforte and called him the “best boss you can imagine.”
Swan, who has been in law enforcement for 33 years total, also has plans for his retirement days.
“I’m going to enjoy retirement for a while,” Swan said. “I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it.”
Swan also plans to enjoy time with the Appaloosa horse he bought last year. Fishing and music are his other two hobbies, he said adding that he plays drums for bands and at church.
Jerry Fontenot, a retired lieutenant with Port Arthur Police Department, has known both men for many years.
“Over the years they worked hard and did a good job,” Fontenot said. “We’re going to miss them both.”