The end of 2009 brings a close to a Fort Worth police officer's nearly 40-year career of putting away bad guys.
"It's going to be quite a transition, but I think I'm ready for it," Sgt. Paul Kratz said.
Kratz joined the force at the age of 19. He spent most of his years in the homicide unit at a time when Fort Worth's murder rate was sky-high.
At age 50, he became a motorcycle officer in the traffic division.
"I just like being outdoors," he said. "I've always enjoyed riding motorcycles. When I first saw the officers training on 'em, I thought I needed to learn how to do that the way they did it."
Now, at 55, he's ready for a new adventure.
"I'd like to go back to Africa. I'm going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, do some more hunting over there, do a lot of traveling. I love to ride motorcycles. (There's) plenty of things to keep me out of trouble," Kratz said.
Kratz said the best times of his 37-year career came as a detective solving cases and arresting the guilty.
"There are just people who are just evil," he said. "It took me a long time to learn that. But once I learned that, I'm so thankful I was able to affect some of them and get rid of 'em."
"I think I've come through it with a relative measure of sanity and still a good outlook on life," he said. "I still think most people, given the choice, will do the right thing."
After Kratz hangs up the badge and uniform on Dec. 31, there will be still be a Sgt. Kratz on the Fort Worth force. His wife, Sgt. Leazah Kratz, is eligible to retire in 2011.