Thursday marked a change of the guard for District 5 of the Idaho State Police as Capt. Eric Dayley retired.
Passing the flag to new District 5 Commander Capt. Fritz Zweigart, Capt. Dayley became just Eric again.
“I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll have a lot less stress in my life,” he said. “It’s a wonderful job but it’s a very stressful job.”
Starting in 1984, Dayley spent parts of four decades with the Idaho State Police, though Dayley said he never thought he’d last that long.
“I never imagined living this long really,” Dayley said. “I don’t know why, but being a younger person you think anyone over 50 or whatever, you know. You just can’t imagine yourself being over 50. So it’s not only being a trooper for that long but just living that long to me is just kind of interesting.”
The retirement ceremony was standing room only in the District 5 training room. An overwhelming experience that Dayley said really touched him.
“I’ve worked with some wonderful people,” Dayley said, “and I could go around the room and tell stories about each one of them and how they’ve impacted my life.”
He felt relieved to put on his uniform for the final time Thursday morning knowing that the district was in good hands.
“They’re great public servants, good cops, and so I think they’ll continue on. Probably go to better heights than I did.”
It’s the people, like those he’s worked alongside, that will be what Dayley misses most.
“We’re in the only business where the customer is always wrong. So sometimes it’s a little bit interesting to work with people, but I love being able to interact with people to talk with them and try to solve problems and make things better,” Dayley said.
Having his badge removed by his wife, Dayley returns to civilian life and said he’ll be proud to see troopers out on the road.
“And I’ll slow down and move over,” he said with a chuckle.
In retirement, Dayley plans to visit family and spend time with his grandchildren.
Though he is retiring from law enforcement, Dayley says he has another job “lined up,” but wouldn’t specify on any further details.
New Capt. Fritz Zweigart joins District 5 from District 3 (Meridian), where he also served as Captain. He has been a member of ISP since 2004.