It was a bittersweet celebration for Maj. Dave Germani as he said goodbye to 30 years with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
On May 14 Germani and about 200 of his closest friends, colleagues and family gathered at Lake Wilderness Lodge and celebrated his retirement from the King County Sheriff’s Office, which was official April 30. His last eight years with the department he served as commander of Precinct No. 3 in Maple Valley.
“You will never find an individual more dedicated to his people or to his profession than Dave,” said Robin Fenton, Chief of Technical Services. “Precinct 3 would not be what it is without Dave.”
He graduated from Issaquah High in 1965 then spent eight years in the United States Marine Corps, including two tours in Vietnam and stint as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. When he left the Marine Corps, Germani had achieved the rank of staff sergeant.
Following his time in the Marines, Germani joined the San Diego Police Department in 1972, where he worked for eight years including serving as an original member of its SWAT squad.
“In 1972, if you wanted a bullet proof vest, you bought your own,” Fenton said.
And back then there was no e-mail, no cell phones, no AFIS or any of the other fancy technology tools of the current day.
In 30 years, Fenton said, Germani worked for seven different sheriffs and in his eight years at Precinct 3 he worked with 14 different captains including Maple Valley Police Chief Michelle Bennett.
Toward the end of the ceremony a handful of deputies who have also served in the Marine Corps presented Germani with a noncommissioned officers sword because the retired precinct commander defined the oft-quoted phrase, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
In fact, Germani’s computer wallpaper had a commonly used Marine Corps mantra that he described as a life style, “Improvise, adapt and overcome.”
He advised current deputies in the room to take that mantra as their own because it helped him get home along with all his buddies through two tours in Vietnam and it would help them do their jobs well, too.
Germani said he was blown away by the turn out at the celebration which far exceeded his expectations. Dozens of officers from contract cities he oversaw in Precinct No. 3 came including from Newcastle, Sammamish, Covington, Maple Valley as well as a number of deputies from across the department.
“I’m not worthy,” he said. “It’s truly meaningful to me and I am truly humbled.”