It is hard to know where to begin when describing the ongoing career of 86-year-old Grayson College Police Capt. B.F. Wade.

It is hard to know where to begin when describing the ongoing career of 86-year-old Grayson College Police Capt. B.F. Wade.


At the beginning of the interview for this article Wade gave a run-down of his accomplishments, all the while exhibiting humility. He has worked in law enforcement for 64 years for four different departments and still works to this day.


He earned the rarely-given "dinosaur award" from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The local Travis Masonic Lodge awarded Wade a 60-year pin. The Sons of the American Revolution bestowed upon Wade their highest lifetime achievement honor. He has been married to his wife, Marie, for nearly 67 years. The two have four children, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Wade has seen law enforcement evolve from the days when police officer training lasted one day and squad cars did not have seat belts or air conditioning, to modern times. Wade made it clear during the interview that that he genuinely enjoys helping people. It is that enjoyment that has kept him working all these years.


Wade was born and raised in Savoy and graduated from Savoy High School in 1944. In 1945 at the age of 17, Wade enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During his 15-month service he spent time on the USS White Plains in the Pacific Theater.


"I am honored to know that I served in World War II. There’s not a lot of people left that served in it," he said.


After discharge from the Navy, Wade returned to Sherman and began working delivering groceries. He wanted a full-time job that offered more stability. Then Sherman Police Chief Johnny Burleson knew Wade was looking for work and suggested he apply to be a police officer. Wade followed Burleson’s suggestion and, on Sept. 1, 1949, began what would become a lifetime career in law enforcement.


"My training as a police officer was one day on the street with an old detective, Bevo Atnip," Wade said.


Wade worked as a Sherman police officer until 1951. Atnip advised Wade that he may have better opportunity for promotion by working for the Texas Highway Patrol. Wade began training for the Texas Highway Patrol in January of 1951.


For 34 years, Wade worked as a State Trooper in the Highway Patrol. He spent about 20 years of that time working in Grayson and Fannin counties.


"It was a job that was highly recognized as one of the best police organizations in the country. And me being a part of that made me more dedicated to it and made me enjoy the fact that I belonged to that organization," Wade said.


Throughout his careers in law enforcement, Wade said he had several experiences that have stuck with him for their tragic nature. One of these experiences occurred a Christmas Eve while patrolling Fannin County.


"We had a man and his four children went and bought a TV for his wife and the children’s mother. There’s a railroad track in Trenton, and as they crossed the tracks the train hit them and killed all of them. And it was a very cold winter night," he recalled.


Over the years, Wade received several promotions and moved around the state to places like Midland and Harlingen. Wade’s last position with the Highway Patrol was as a Patrol Commander in Beaumont, from which he retired in 1984.


However, Wade’s career in law enforcement was far from finished. In 1988 he began work as a bailiff for the 59th District Court.


"It was interesting because … you’d hear the case from the beginning to the end. And then I enjoyed the fellowship with the jury. Because you bonded with them, being the only one that they could communicate with," Wade said.


After ending his full-time work as a bailiff in 1992, the chief of the Grayson College Police approached Wade about becoming a part-time officer. Wade said he would accept the offer on the condition that he receive two to three months off each summer to travel. The chief agreed, and Wade has been at GC ever since.


The calls officers respond to at Grayson College differ from the calls Wade responded to as a police officer and trooper, Wade said. There are no high-speed chases, no major accidents and no drunken drivers. Arrests are rare. But Wade said he relishes the opportunity to help Grayson College students and staff on a daily basis.


"When you’ve got a dead battery, you’re out of gas, you’ve got a flat tire, or you’re locked out of your car, you’re at somebody’s mercy," Wade said. "And we’re their mercy, because we can do those things for them."


While recounting his many years in public service, Wade said he has never once wished he had a different job, even though not every day has been pleasant.


"Three o’clock in the morning, icicles hanging off the car, get out of a warm bed and go out and wrestle someone drunk. That ain’t funny. But it’s still part of the day," he said.


While public service is clearly a passion of Wade’s, traveling is his favorite thing to do when he is not working. Wade and his wife have traveled via motor home to 49 states – including Alaska twice. The only state Wade has not visited is Hawaii.


"We can’t get there in a motor home," he said, smiling.


Wade said he plans on continuing to work, as long as he’s in good health and able to fulfill his duties.


"I have no date set to retire. I have no intentions of retiring," he said. "I’m happy that I’ve been able to be in law enforcement now 64 years, and I hope I can continue as long as I want to."