It’s no mystery why Detective Charles Simpson is looking forward to his retirement Jan. 31 after 20 years with Rockwall Police Department.

“I’m tired. I can’t keep up with all of it any more,” Simpson said. “I’ve got mixed emotions about retiring, but I’ve worked really hard, and I need a long vacation.”

Prior to working in Rockwall, Simpson was a repairman for Coca-Cola and a reserve officer with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.

“It started with my dad. He was a Mesquite police officer,” he said. “All my friends were policemen. I wanted to do my part in helping get these criminals off the street.”

Simpson applied for a job with the Rockwall Police Department in August 1985. He started as a patrolman the following October.

He spent seven years on patrol, working traffic enforcement, accident investigations, arrests, searching for missing children, writing reports and documenting crime scenes. He was also a field training officer from 1989 to 1992.

It was the crime scene work that really piqued his interest, and he was promoted to detective in 1992.

He specializes in financial crime investigations, which includes forgery, identity theft, fraud, embezzlement and scams.

“It’s very interesting. You can use technology skills in handwriting, fingerprinting - you can use all the crime scene technology,” Simpson said. “It’s a challenge, and it’s probably the biggest area of crime at this time.”

One of his most interesting cases was a recent five-month investigation of a family forgery and credit card abuse ring. The family members would walk into a business, distract workers and steal credit cards. Within an hour or so, they had usually maxed out credit cards and removed all the money from bank accounts.

Simpson, 59, is a member of the Fraud Investigators Association of Texas, which includes police officers, Secret Service, FBI, postal inspectors and others. He works with credit unions, the attorney general’s office, banks and FDIC.

He is also a member of the Rockwall Police Association, where he has served as secretary/treasurer for several years; Texas Narcotics Association; Texas Municipal Police Officers Association; Association of Professional Police Investigators. He was also coordinator for the Rockwall County Crime Stoppers for several years and has worked with Cops for Kids and the Rotary bicycle race.

He obtained an associate’s degree in criminal justice from El Centro College in 1983. Simpson also holds a master’s police officer license and is certified to work on the department’s firearms.

He has received training in crisis intervention, hostage negotiation, narcotics investigation, death investigations, interviewing, interrogations, advanced crime scene techniques, which includes ridgeology (fingerprinting), graphology (handwriting) and photography.

While his certifications fill one notebook, another is laden with several commendations and appreciative letters and cards.

The letters are from people he has helped, and even from a few of those he has arrested.

One man arrested for an unpaid ticket wrote “Charles Simpson, the arresting officer, was more pleasant and cooperative than anyone could expect or hope for. I wasn’t treated like a hardened criminal or an imbecile. He does his job well. An officer of his caliber is a credit to any force, and you are lucky to have him.”

Simpson has received other honors, which he largely attributes to the help of his fellow officers, including police officer of the year, public safety officer of the year, an award from the United States Postal Inspection Service and an award from American National Bank for his investigative work.

“And best of all, I made lots of friends and very, very few enemies,” Simpson said.

When he leaves, Simpson will turn in badge number 911.

“I accused them of thinking I couldn’t remember a longer badge number,” Simpson said with a laugh. “Especially after 9-11, it’s a reminder every day of what our police and firefighters did. It’s an honor to wear a badge with 911 on it.”

“That’s going to be some big shoes to fill,” Police Chief Mark Moeller said. “He’s been a great asset to the department.”

Simpson has been training another officer in financial crimes and has agreed to help when someone needs information, the chief said.

“I’d do it all again. I wouldn’t change anything,” Simpson said. “I’m not sure if my wife of 40 years would do it all over again. Having a husband who’s a police officer can be tough.”

Simpson said his son Joe received an “excellent” education in Rockwall schools and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan School of Law. He is now an attorney in Washington, D.C. Joe and his wife, who is an occupational therapist, have a 7-year-old daughter. Simpson plans to make a lot of trips to Washington, D.C.

He plans to take at least a year off, but his career is not necessarily over.

“If an opening should come up for an intelligence analyst in Rockwall, I’ll come out of retirement,” he said. “Or I might seek a financial investigator’s job for a financial institution.”

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