Port Arthur honors retired officer for almost 40 years of service

Photo credit: Port Arthur Police Department

Several Port Arthur first responders honored retired officer Thomas E. Baxter for nearly 40 years of service at Rose Place Senior Assisted Living on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The breakfast was honoring “Port Arthur’s finest,” PAPD Detective and canine handler Mark Holmes said in a release on Dec. 5.

Chief of Police Patrick Melvin, who took office in October, also attended.

Rose Place Community Relations manager Ranika Prince-Gilliam and resident Thomas Baxter, 97, hosted the banquet, greeting the officers at 6:30 a.m. Baxter retired from the Port Arthur Police Department after 39 years of service in Feb. 1982. He became a police officer after completing his service in the U.S. Army in 1942, starting with the Beaumont Police Department and transferring to Port Arthur.

Baxter also served as Griffing Park police chief for three months in 1983 before Griffing Park consolidated with Port Arthur. He was the last PAPD officer to retire who earned the rank of inspector.

Baxter and current PAPD officers exchanged stories about the city and the police department throughout the years.

Baxter believes that police officers should “talk to [people] like human being[s]” while on patrol.

“It’s all in the way you meet people. You make an enemy for life, or you can approach them in such a manner that you make a friend for life,” Baxter said, according to the release. “That’s what I always sought to do.”

The PAPD officers presented Baxter with a photo album filled with over 40 photos of his career as a police officer.