Nofstger retires from Berryville PD
After 20 years in uniform, Berryville police officer Greg Noftsger officially retired on Jan. 29. Last week, he sounded as if was he already missing his job.
Spending the past three years as the school resource officer at Berryville Elementary and Intermediate Schools might have something to do with that.
“If I’d have known then what I know now, I would have started off as an SRO,” Noftsger said Friday. “I love working with the kids. They’re just awesome. I don’t know anywhere else you can go to work and get a hundred hugs a day.”
Noftsger, 62, started his career in law enforcement in 2001, taking a job as a jailer with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked under former sheriffs J.R. Ashlock and Chuck Medford before joining the Berryville Police Department in 2005.
“I’ve been there ever since,” Noftsger said.
Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos, who presented Noftsger with a Denver Broncos golf bag as a retirement gift during a retirement party Jan. 29, had nothing but praise for Noftsger.
“When I first came here he was working as a jailer and then he went out on the road,” Bartos said. “Me and him worked together a little bit as road officers and backed each other up on some calls and stuff. Greg was a good officer. I’m sorry to see him go. I know he really kind of misses it with the kids at the school. I think he kind of enjoyed it up there with the younger kids and stuff, which a lot of the guys, they get up there and kind of get attached to seeing the kids every day.”
Berryville Elementary School principal Kelly Swofford said Noftsger was a model SRO.
“Greg was very professional, very caring, very patient and understanding with our kids,” Swofford said, calling those important qualities for anyone in that position. “Especially when we’re working with younger children and building that rapport with kids that hopefully will last a lifetime with our police force.”
That rapport benefits everyone, Noftsger said.
“We make a difference in some of these kids’ lives, a big difference,” Noftsger said. “Not only do we make a difference in their lives, but they make a difference in our lives. They make us look through their eyes. When you work the street for for 15 years, you start getting a little bitter because all you deal with is bad people most of the time. But at the school, you get to see the world through the kids’ eyes and it opens up your heart to a lot more than when you’re working the streets.”
And the job doesn’t always end when the last bell rings.
“You get to know so many of those kids and there’s a lot of kids that are struggling because of bad home situations and stuff like that,” Noftsger said. “So what I used to do is, even even on some of my Saturdays off, I would drive by the house and just check on those kids, make sure they’re doing OK.”
Looking ahead, Noftsger, who is recovering from back surgery, said he plans to “kick back” for a bit.
“I’ll see where it goes from there,” Noftsger said. “I’ve already had a couple of calls. People want me to get into security and stuff like that, but at this time, I’m just going to kick back, play some golf, do a little fishing and wait till the back heals.”
Of course, after spending 19 years and 6 months wearing a badge, that may be a little difficult.
“Working for Berryville is probably one of the best jobs I ever had,” Noftsger said. “It’s one of the jobs you get up in the morning and you’re not upset about going to work. I loved my job. I think the hard part is going to be not staring at the expired tags and stuff like that.
“I’m going to have to get that out of my system.”