Chief Officer Michael Rogers, from Tettenhall, has been a member of the West Midlands Police Special Constabulary for 50 years, having decided to volunteer his time to the service as a 19-year-old trainee solicitor.
The 70-year-old started his career in the Special Constabulary in 1971 as constable at Dunstall Road, progressing up to a section officer, a Sergeant and an inspector, before becoming a divisional commandant.
He then became a divisional officer before getting the promotion to chief officer and moving to Lord House in Birmingham.
He will be walking the beat for the last time on December 31 before calling time on a career which he said had produced many highlights, including meeting and marrying his wife June.
He said: "I think some of the highlights have been around helping those most in need, helping children in vulnerable families and protecting people who've been the subject of violence.
"I've met and worked with some incredible people, including my wife June who was also a Special when we got together.
"It has always been incredibly rewarding to know you've done something to help others at their time of need."
Mr Rogers said that while the decision to retire after 50 years was tough, it was the appropriate time to do so.
He said: "When you look around the people we've been recruiting, you start to realise you're moving on in life and you need to identify with the people you're leading.
"I also don't bounce as well, so when I get involved at times in physical altercations, I've started to realise that my limitations are not as good as they used to be.
"I've always said I don't want to be tapped on the shoulder by someone and told I'm past my sell-by-date, so while I'm proud to lead a great team, I also don't want to outstay my welcome."
In recognition of his years of commitment, he was honoured by colleagues during a surprise presentation, which included framing his epaulettes from across his policing career as a reminder of his achievements.
He said the outpouring of support and well wishes had been greatly appreciated and said he felt he was leaving the force and region in a good place.
He said: "I've never been one for wartime stories and all that, but it's nice to have a visual reminder of what I've achieved through the framed epaulettes and everyone has been very kind to me.
"Time moves on and I'm leaving the West Midlands in a good place as I truly believe this is the best police service in the country, with some wonderful chief constables who I've worked for."
As retirement beckons, Mr Rogers said his focus was on spending more time with his family, saying they had been supportive of him throughout this journey.
He said: "I've got other things I can be spending time on now and the main focus of that is June and my other family as I have worked so many Christmases and it's time to be here for that.
"I also want to be here for my son Ben, his wife Kate and our granddaughter Tabitha, who was there for my retirement do when I got my long service award and retirement certificate and she was so well-behaved for that.
"She does find it strange to see me in my uniform, but it's wonderful as when she sees a policeman, she says 'Oh Grandad!', so I like to think I've left a legacy of making life safer for her and other grandchildren."
On the subject of legacy, Mr Rogers said he felt he had helped to raise the profile of Specials to the same as regular uniformed policeman and said it was something that could help change your life.
He said: "When I joined, I didn't get a second of training, just learnt on the job, whereas now, they get 22 weeks of hard training, but with the understanding that they will be supported by us all the way.
"20 years ago, Specials were seen as a waste of time, but that's not the case now as they are seen in the same light as regular police officers and the public doesn't care what's on your shoulder as long as you are able to carry out your duties.
"The police service follows the Peelian Principle of 'the public are the police and the police are the public' and I'm immensely proud of the work we have done to uphold that and serve our communities."