The Sherry family represents three generations of police officers. From left are Charles, Matthew and MicIMG_0663hael Sherry. Charles and Michael are retired from the Orchard Park Police Department, and Matthew currently serves in the Hamburg Police Department.

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Matthew Sherry often tried on his father’s police badge and hat, pretending as a little boy to be the man he looked up to most.“I always idolized my father and the career he was in,” he said. Many years later, Matthew became a police officer himself, taking the same path his father, Michael Sherry, took at his age. In the same way, Michael also traveled the same route of his own father, Charles Sherry.

Although Charles and Michael are both retired now from their long careers with the Orchard Park Police Department, the police service thread weaves through three generations. Matthew is a recent hire in the Hamburg Police Department. Their common career makes for lively conversations when they get together, as they all can relate to one another’s experiences and know the same police lingo, they say.

Also, in the same way Charles once imparted his veteran knowledge to Michael, they both can now do the same for Matthew, still a rookie on the Hamburg force. “To know that one of my children thought that highly of what I did that he wanted to become that made me feel special, as I’m sure it made my father feel special,” said Michael.

Michael retired from the Orchard Park police force in 2006 as the assistant chief, and his father, Charles, retired in 2001. Both worked together in the same department for 20 years, they say. “I always looked up to my father,” said Michael. “He was a man of integrity, a man who wanted to serve his community.”

When it came time for Michael to choose a career, he knew he wanted to do what his father did: become a police officer.“While I was a police officer, I never worried about myself,” said Michael, “but now that my son, Matthew, is out on the road, I do find myself concerned for his safety. Looking back, I’m sure my own father was proud but also concerned for me at the time.”

Charles says his son and grandson must have seen something in the job that they liked. “It was always interesting to me,” he said of the work, “and I felt good about helping people. A large percentage of the job is serving the public — more so than arresting the criminals.”

Matthew, who is still learning the ropes with the Hamburg police, says that although there is a lot to learn, he’s having fun doing it and finds the job rewarding. “I’m proud of the career I’ve chosen,” he said, “but I take extra pride in it because I get to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather.”

Orchard Park Bee (July 18, 2013).