Decades of graduation photos line a wall on the second floor of the IU Police Department. They show the faces of every cadet that has passed through the IU Police Academy.
The photograph, tinted with age, of the Academy’s class of 1980 shows one officer who would go on to spend the next four decades with IUPD.
Capt. Craig Munroe was sworn in at the Whittenberger Auditorium. More than 39 years later, Munroe had his retirement party just across the hall in the University Club.
“Well, I mean it goes fast,” Munroe said.
Munroe, 61, spent almost two-thirds of his life working at the IUPD. Now as he heads into retirement, IUPD Capt. Shannon Bunger said the department will miss his positive personality.
“He’s always pretty happy-go-lucky,” Bunger said.
Bunger said Munroe worked with anybody. He said Munroe would always stay as late as he needed in the office to get all of his work done.
“Craig was a constant professional,” Bunger said.
After finishing high school, Munroe wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a machinist. That was until he attended the Three Rivers Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana, one summer.
Munroe said he watched a man stumble through the crowd with a beer in hand. Two young police officers directing traffic grabbed the man and beat him with a Maglite, just steps from him. The experience disturbed him.
A week later, Munroe decided to go to college and become a police officer.
“I didn't like the way law enforcement was at the time,” Munroe said. He wanted to do better.
Before Munroe started full-time for IUPD in 1981, he worked as an undercover narcotics cadet for a semester, living in a dorm. He said he had to be very careful because if he was identified it would ruin his work.
“I learned that I never want to do that again,” Munroe said. “You can't be forthcoming with everybody. You can’t be honest all the time.”
Munroe worked 22 years on the night shift.
“There’s always something going on,” Munroe said.
One moment Munroe still thinks about is the time he unlocked a car for a woman in the Von Lee parking lot. He said the woman had a couple of young kids with her and was very emotional. After Munroe managed to unlock her car with a slim jim, she went in to hug him but stopped because he was an officer.
“I just reached out and hugged her,” Munroe said. “That's one thing I always remember.”
Munroe was appointed Captain of Administration in 2018. His second-floor office is just steps from his graduation photo.
Now, the office is almost empty.
Munroe planned to retire in June. He drew many tally marks at the top of his whiteboard in his office, each representing a week he had left until retirement. At the end of each week, Munroe would erase one mark.
He recently learned he could use his excess of paid sick days and time off before he retired. He had accumulated over 1,200 hours.
Munroe’s last day at work was Nov. 22. His last official day is Jan. 31.
Now Munroe has traded in his stress about late-night calls and sending out crime notifications for the stress of meal planning. His wife still works, so Munroe has been tasked with making dinner every week night.
He created an Excel spreadsheet to track their meals, which made his wife laugh.
“My wife thinks I'm overthinking,” Munroe said. “I was like, ‘No, I gotta have something, so I know what to buy.’ I don’t want to go buy a bunch of stuff when I’ve already got it.”
Munroe will count down the final days of his career from the comfort of his home, where he will fix the garage door opener, serve a Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken for dinner and wait for his seventh grandkid to arrive.
The last red tally mark sits alone in the top left corner of his whiteboard, waiting to be erased.