Chief Dawson's retirement ceremony filled with laughs and tears - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Chief Dawson's retirement ceremony filled with laughs and tears

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AUBURN, AL -

Lots of laughs and tears were shared yesterday afternoon as the community gathered to wish Police Chief Tommy Dawson all the best in his retirement.

Chief Dawson is retiring early to focus on his battle with Parkinson's Disease after 26 years with the Auburn Police Department.

Jim Burk, the father of slain Auburn University freshman Lauren Burk, drove from Atlanta to speak about meeting Chief Dawson the night Dawson told him his daughter had been killed.

"Of course I was a nervous wreck, but I looked into his eyes and I knew I was going to be involved in something terrible. But just looking at this man's eyes made me feel calm and made me realize the kind of fella he was, is," says Burk.

During his speech, Dawson spoke about the love of his family, especially his daughter. 

"If not for Parkinson's I'd do this job another 10 years. I'd almost pay the city of Auburn to let me do this job. I love it. I have a lot of passion for the citizens of Auburn and the job I do. You will never know how hard it is for me to step down," says Dawson.

He encouraged all of his officers to protect the citizens of Auburn and the 25,000 students at Auburn University, as if they were their own family.

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