ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany Police Department Deputy Chief Wilma Griffin has been through a lot in the past 35 years, and she has paid her dues to get to where she is.
Now it is time to say goodbye.
A retirement party was held for Griffin on Friday morning at the Albany Civic Center.
"It's wonderful and rewarding," the outgoing deputy chief said. "This is a jubilant time for me. I feel I've served the community and given 35 good years."
While Griffin will be spending the early days of her retirement resting, she does not expect to be inactive throughout. She plans to still work with at-risk children through the Dougherty County School System's "Turn-Around" program, and also to work with the community's elderly.
The event Friday was attended by a number of APD officers, as well as various appointed and elected officials from the Albany-Dougherty County area, which was a response Griffin said she felt grateful for.
"For the first time, I get to sit back and let everyone else do what they are going to do," she said. "It's just been a rewarding experience."
Acknowledgments and recognitions were made at the ceremony, including a few words from APD Chief John Proctor.
"Griffin is someone who I had the privilege to meet a year and a half ago," he said. "I told her I wanted to hear the truth about the department, and she told me.
"That is the kind of person you need in this community."
Griffin took the position of interim chief after former Chief James Younger left on Jan. 1, 2009. Proctor took over as chief later that year.
Griffin began her days on the force as a foot patrol officer in 1975 after giving up a career as a licensed practical nurse. At the time, she was one of the few women on the police force -- and also one of just a few black officers.
She earned a number of milestones to her name during her days in the department, including first black officer to be assigned to the narcotics division, first female detective lieutenant, first female captain and first female assistant chief of police.