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York County Deputy Retires After 49 Year Career
By Mary Leedom

YCDR imageAfter 49 years in law enforcement York County Deputy Johnny Mercer has retired.

Officer Mercer spent 49 years in law enforcement. Twenty nine years for Newport News, and twenty for the York County Sheriff's Office. Wednesday the 28th of February, was his official last day. At his retirement ceremony Thursday, friends and colleagues told story after story about a good-hearted fellow who quoted scripture and hated to write traffic tickets.

Mercer's family moved from Wilmington, N.C. To the Peninsula when he was five. He graduated from Newport News High School in 1967 and briefly worked at the shipyard. He began his career with the Newport News Police Department on March 3, 1969. He was assigned to motorcycle duty in 1981. When he was fifty years old, Mercer retired from the Newport News force on Friday, July 31, 1998, and started working in York County the following Monday.

Mandatory retirement age in Virginia is seventy. Mercer celebrated his seventh birthday on January the 27th. He served every possible day that he could . Initially He thought he had to retire during his birthday month, But learned that He could work one month past birthday month, until February 28.

At his retirement ceremony on Thursday, he recalled a devotional passage that read: "Death does not end with a period — it ends with a comma." Retired law enforcement officers are still allowed to volunteer for auxiliary service. He said that he views his retirement the same way. "Who knows? I might wake up Monday and decide to go in to work."


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