Retirement. It is a word that elicits both anxiety and excitement depending on who you are and your chosen profession.
But for one lucky police officer, his last official act as a policeman was one that he, and the internet, would never forget.
“That’ll be Code 3, for the final time.”
In April of 2016, Police Sergeant Douglas Hogate Sr., was ending his 28 years of public service for the Salem County Police Department. Though he expected that the day was going to be emotional, he never realized to what degree. Nor did he ever realize that people around the world would watch it thousands of times.
At the end of each shift, Sergeant Hogate would always call the dispatcher and declare a “Code 3,” which meant that he was going off-duty. So, when his final shift ended, he did what he always did.
“That’ll be Code 3, for the final time,” Sergeant Hogate said in a video capturing the moment.
But then there was a surprise — a familiar voice emanated from the radio.
Instead of the normal dispatcher, another voice came over the radio—his son’s.
“As of 1800 hours on this date, after 28 years of service, my father, Salem City Police Sgt. Douglas Hogate Sr., badge #612, is retiring and is giving his final Code 3,” Douglas Hogate Jr., Sergeant Hogate’s son and dispatcher for Salem County said in the video.
Upon hearing his son’s voice, Sergeant Hogate removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. Overwhelmed by the moment, he listened to his son’s tribute in silence.
“It is my honor, as Salem County DSP Douglas Hogate Jr., to acknowledge his Code 3 to the greatest man I know,” Douglas Hogate Jr. said in the video. “Salem City Police Sgt. Douglas Hogate Sr., badge #612, you are officially Code 3 at 1800 hours.”
The video went viral — and the pair was surprised at their newfound fame.
Soon the video was posted online and their story went viral. Thousands of people responded and shared this special moment between a hard-working public servant and his son.
In an interview with Fox News, Douglas Hogate Sr. explained how overcome with joy he was at hearing his son’s voice come out of the radio.
“The greatest part about it was that my son was on the other end,” Douglas Hogate Sr. said in an interview with Fox News. “I know it’s been done before, but having my son acknowledge me—that was the best part about it.”
The moment that they shared was a testament to their love and strong bond.
Douglas Hogate Jr., in particular, was surprised at how the internet reacted to the message to his father.
“It’s amazing the impact that one minute message turned into everything that it has,” Douglas Hogate Jr. said in an interview with Fox News.
It is always nice to be acknowledged, but it is even better when that acknowledgement comes from a loved one. Watching Sergeant Hogate react to his son’s words not only showed how much of an emotional experience it was for him, but also their strong love for one another.