Corporal Dale Sharpe was due to work his final day as a Booneville Police Department officer and celebrate his birthday on Thursday. Instead his fellow officers with the BPD and those representing several other agencies gathered last Thursday to say goodbye.

Last call was made for Sharpe, 66, Thursday afternoon at the conclusion of funeral services for the almost 25-year veteran of the BPD who dedicated his entire life to law enforcement. Sharpe passed away on Sunday, Nov. 3.

Prior to coming to Booneville “Perkins” Sharpe leaned his craft as an MP while serving three years active and three years of reserved duty. He also previously worked for departments in Hillsboro, Mo., Roland, Okla., Charleston, and Franklin County — Sharpe had not worked outside of the profession since graduating high school.

During a eulogy BPD Chief Rusty Lewis described Sharpe as an eternal optimist who was convinced he would conquer the health issues he was facing and return to the force on a part-time basis because that 25-year anniversary was looming.

Lewis also noted it was Sharpe, the longest tenured officer on the staff who was not required to, but had a penchant for the night shift, had a distinct plan to not rise above the rank of corporal.

The chief also said Sharpe considered all of law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, emergency medical and the like as extended family.

“That’s the way they all felt about Dale,” Lewis said. “Dale was part of their family. It will be hard to get along without him. One thing I learned early on is when the chips are down there’s nobody you’d rather have behind you than Dale Sharpe. You could always count on him in the crunch.”

Lewis added Sharpe never met anyone he didn’t like, a sentiment echoed minister Bill Van Meter, who delivered the message.

Lewis closed his portion of the service by quoting Abraham Lincoln, “In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

The service closed with a playing of Taps and folding of the American flag by a Chief of Police Honor Guard.

After the last call, made by dispatcher Roxanne Bradford, a convoy of law enforcement vehicles provided an escort for the hearse carrying Sharpe to the Booneville Police Department for a final time before he was returned to Roberts Funeral Home.