Captain Joe Hoffman, of the McPherson County Sheriffs Department, said he was honored to drive the patrol car in the All Schools Day parade this year.

After 40 years of service in law enforcement it means the world to him.

“Jerry (Montagne) wants me to because I’m retiring this year and so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it,’” Hoffman said with a smile. “It’s just the opportunity to lead it, to be out there and have fun with the people.”

Hoffman is retiring this October and decided age 67 was a good age to retire.

“I’ll be 67 in October and for some reason I always decided that I’m going to retire at 67 because I thought that was a good age to, whether it is or not, I just decided that a long time ago,” he said.

Hoffman went out in style with some of his grandkids in the patrol car with him.

“I gave them the offer for my grandkids who aren’t on floats this year. Some of them are getting to that age where they want to hang out with their friends, but that’s OK. If they want to ride with me that’s great,” he said.

The Sheriffs Department and McPherson County Police Department’s vehicles rode side-by-side at the beginning of the parade.

The patrol vehicles usually ride behind Uncle Sam at the start, but this year they led.

“I think it’s a tradition. Years ago the police department used to lead it and when they had a change in the chief of police, they decided that since it’s a county-wide deal that they should get the Sheriff’s Department involved and the Highway Patrol too...it just shows that the parade is being kicked off,” he added.

Hoffman said seeing the kids eyes light up at the patrol cars is one of the highlights of the parade.

“It’s always fun to see them get excited,” he said.

Leading the parade is important to Hoffman and the law enforcement in McPherson.

“We support everybody. Just having our presence there is important,” he said.

During the parade, the entire town of McPherson shuts down, but not the law enforcement offices.

“People need to keep in mind during the parade there are still calls that have to be answered outside of the parade, we will still be on-the-clock,” he said.

As the last 40 years have treated Hoffman well, he would like to thank the people of McPherson County for making his time worth it.

“It’s been a good job and career. McPherson County is full of wonderful people. There are some things that you don’t like to see that come with this job, but you always have to keep in mind it’s those really good people out there that keep us going,” he said.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.