Growing up in Lawrence, Susan Hadl watched the television series “The Mod Squad” about three cool, young crime fighters.
She wanted to be a cop.
Years later, after becoming an officer with her hometown police force, she learned the reality of the profession was nothing like her favorite show.
“Nevertheless, I really fell in love and developed a passion for law enforcement,” Hadl said Friday at her retirement ceremony. “And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Hadl, who has served as a sergeant since 1990, spoke at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center to fellow police and Douglas County sheriff’s officers, city officials and others as she stepped down.
Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Hadl had received about 70 thank-you cards and letters from officials or members of the public for her actions as an officer. She was often commended for her work as an investigator and the clear reports she wrote.
“She has continued to uphold values that we expect, that the community expects and is an example to others in law enforcement with those ideals,” Khatib said.
Hadl has a long list of accomplishments as an officer, the chief said, including participating in the department’s critical-response team and being certified to conduct hostage negotiations. She has been serving as a patrol sergeant on the department’s midnight shift.
Those hours aren’t for everyone, but Hadl enjoyed it. She’ll miss seeing less-experienced officers develop in their careers.
“That’s the prime location in the department when you do enjoy watching people evolve and getting excited like I have been excited and passionate about their work,” she said. “That’s been a plus for me. Absolutely.”
The 1975 Lawrence High graduate was also recognized for her community service work, including for groups that support victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Hadl earned a master’s degree and has maintained her social work license.
“I have been entertaining using that (degree),” Hadl said. “I’m not sure what it might look like, but I’d like to put that to use.”