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Decades of service with sheriff

February 12, 2014 - When Deputy Thomas Cavalier joined Oakland County Sheriff's Office, Sashabaw was a two lane road and many others were made of dirt.

"Independence Township was a lot less crowded, lot less traffic," said Cavalier, getting ready to retire after 35 years with the department.

His career in law enforcement is even longer he patrolled the township in the 1970s with Independence Township Police Services, along with Dirk Feneley, current Independence Township substation commander.

"Dirk and I were there through the 80s," Cavalier said.

He was a Waterford Police cadet out of high school, and served in the U.S. Army in Germany in the 1970s.

He went directly into law enforcement after his enlistment, joining Keego Harbor Police Department as a reserve officer while a student at Oakland Community College.

"I got lucky, knowing what I wanted to do when I got out," he said. "My brother in law was a deputy, a neighbor was a Pontiac police officer, I saw people there to look up to."

He was with Oakland County Safety Division for a year, then joined the sheriff's department when it took over. He was assigned to every unit in the department over the decades, including patrol, Honor Guard, K9, motor unit, escorting presidential motorcades, detective, county jail, and warrants, chasing down probation absconders.

"It was a great career, a full career," he said. "It's a great department, with more opportunity than any other police agency as far as I'm concerned."

He's retiring to part time, continuing to serve at circuit court and the courthouse.

"It's a good way to ease out," he said.

He plans to stay in the area with his wife, Anne, though plans to visit Florida in the winter. They have a son and daughter in law in Ft. Lauderdale, both police officers, as well as another son and a granddaughter.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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