Things seem different around the Buffalo Police Department since Inspector Daniel E. Redmond retired, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.
True story: Redmond, his wife, Peggy, and a reporter were in a South Buffalo restaurant this past week when a former colleague approached and, good-naturedly, remarked: "My wife wants to know how come since you retired, there's no more homicides." Actually, there were two in the days immediately after his last shift Aug. 29. But none since.
It's just that the perception exists, and Redmond doesn't disagree, that things had a way of happening the nights he was in charge.
Homicides, standoffs or horrific accidents -- officers and media often acknowledged each other, from opposite sides of yellow crime scene tape, with the observation: "Inspector Redmond must be on tonight."
"Danny's a class act, he's a cop's cop," Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina said Friday night, at a party in Redmond's honor. "He never forgot where he came from. He could always relate to other police officers."
A South Buffalo social hall was filled with those officers, fellow retirees looking refreshed and tanned, and on-duty cops linked to downtown by pagers and cell phones.
"The best boss anybody could ever ask for," said Northwest District Capt. Al Damiani, who's known Redmond since 1972. "He nurtured a lot of policemen."
"You hate to see him go," Damiani continued, "because you always knew you had him as the backup man."
Redmond, said Capt. Mark Morgan, "would show for every call, every time."
With his family's roots in firefighting, Redmond interrupted his police career early on to try it for six months but didn't like it. Returning to the police department, he worked in the old Southside Station until his promotion to captain in 1974 sent him around the city as needed.
The inspector's job followed four years later, and at the time of his retirement, he was working out of the Central District (officially known as B District) while commanding the entire shift as duty officer.
Now he is patriarch of a law enforcement family, including a son and daughter-in-law who are detectives in Buffalo. Even his wife was a civilian employee of the department for 13 years.
If things have changed in the short month since his retirement, consider the changes Redmond witnessed during his career.
"When I started in the city, there was almost 600,000 people," he said. "I just remember an entirely different city than the city I'm living in now."
"My son asks me a lot of times: 'How was it back then?' "
Two things immediately come to mind: The Buffalo Police Department was all male and mostly white.
"Did we need minorities? Absolutely," Redmond said. "Same with females -- it had to be."
"You've got to get the kind of law enforcement agency that reflects the community."
And the approach toward policing changed, too. "Back in the '60s, the whole thing (was) 'We're the police; you're the citizens. Don't tell us how to do our jobs,' " Redmond said. "That has changed."
"I think probably the best way to solve crimes . . . you get help from the community."
The years unfolded: Civil rights activism of the '60s, the "streaking" fad and anti-war protests of the '70s, the scourge of drugs and related crime in the '80s and '90s.
As a big, bustling city, Buffalo saw a proportionate amount of homicides -- mostly domestics -- and crimes involving property, Redmond said. Then when crack cocaine landed here in the late 1980s, Buffalo was a much smaller city with a big problem.
"Crime just took off -- every kind of crime imaginable," Redmond said. "People you would never suspect were getting in drugs because there was so much money."
In 23 years as inspector, Redmond's seen it all. "I have seen just about every type of death a human can experience," he said.
But no, there wasn't a single incident that "shocked" the seasoned cop. "I know I felt bad after a lot of times," he said.
In 39 years there was only one time he was shot at, Redmond recalled -- when someone shot out the tire of his police car. And just two instances when he fired his gun.
One time was while chasing a suspect through yards, gun held aloft, and it discharged when when he ran into a laundry line in the darkness. The other was when he and Lt. Thomas McCarthy tried to corral a steer that had escaped from a stockyard. After alternatively pursuing and fleeing from the steer, they ended up having to shoot and kill it.
"I never wanted to shoot anybody -- I never did. Maybe it's the Catholic background," Redmond said. "I never wanted to kill anyone."
Appreciated by police officers and the media alike for his even-tempered demeanor, what they saw is the same person he is at home, said his wife of 34 years. "The kids never suffered," said Peggy Redmond, who noted that his schedule enabled him to have dinner every night with her and their three children; now there are three grandchildren. "His kids adore him," she said. "Now we're into the next generation of kids."
"He's a really intrinsically good person," his wife said.
There are those who thought Redmond should have been considered for the department's top job, but he wasn't among them. "I wanted to be exactly what I was. I was happy to do what I was doing," he said.
Added his wife: "He gave it his all. He really did."
And what would he like as his legacy?
"I just hope they remember me positively, because I always tried to help people," Redmond said.