After more than 33 years with the Laramie Police Department, Commander Mitchell Cushman is retiring from work in law enforcement.

Commander Cushman says he wanted to be in law enforcement from an early age. Growing up in Burlington, Iowa, a town which was similar in size to Laramie, he always had the goal of becoming a police officer.

“Children want to be spacemen, or firemen, or police officers when they’re five. I just never grew out of that,” said Cushman.

Children want to be spacemen, or firemen, or police officers when they’re five. I just never grew out of that.

He says that childhood dream was why he chose to attend a university offering a degree in the law enforcement field, which was not a common degree at the time. It was for that reason that Cushman attended the University of Wyoming. As a student athlete on the UW Swim Team, he graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administrative Justice.

While people generally look at a degree as a way to be marketable to employers, Cushman says his education made it more difficult to find a starting job in his field.

“When I first graduated, most of the places that I was looking at for a job, they said I was overeducated,” said Cushman. “They thought that since I had a four year degree that I wouldn’t be staying very long because, at that time, there just wasn’t a lot of people that had that. I actually didn’t get hired a few places because of my degree.”

Cushman didn’t let that stop him from achieving his goals, though, as he continued to apply for jobs. He says he liked the Laramie area, so he focused his efforts on Laramie and the surrounding region.

It was in July of 1981 that he caught his break.

I thought that I would test one more time to see what areas I could be hired at, and I did a number of tests all the way from Grand Junction, Colorado to Denver to here, again,” says Cushman. “Laramie was the first one to offer me the job, and so here’s where I stayed”

After gaining employment in Laramie, Cushman spent a number of years as a patrolman on the midnight shift.

As a patrolman, Cushman was always passionate about helping at-risk youth. This passion greatly helped him in his role as the first High Risk Youth Officer in the Laramie Police Department from 1989-1992.

Cushman continued on to serve as a custody control instructor for about 15 years. For approximately five years of that time, Cushman also served as the Special Response Team leader.

Cushman began in his current role approximately seven years ago, the last five years of which has involved being the Public Information Officer. He has served as the main source of information for media outlets when it comes to information on the Laramie Police Department.

Upon his retirement, Cushman says it will likely take some time to get used to not being a police officer.

“I have to re-prioritize about where I’m at about cultural issues and some things that I may want to weigh in a little bit on as a private citizen,” says Cushman. “As a police officer, and certainly by my position, there are things that I chose not to get involved in only because the police department just can’t do that. So I’m looking forward to a little bit more freedom to express myself.”

Cushman says he will miss working in the Police Department, especially being able to solve problems in the community and make it a safer place.

Cushman’s last day at the Laramie Police Department will be January 8, 2015.

Cushman plans to stay in the Laramie area after retirement.

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