Retiring Albany cop reflects on a life on the streets of Albany

May 02, 2019 12:50 PM

ALBANY – With some stubble, wearing a golf warm-up jacket and his pickup truck emblazoned with "M. Romano & Son" logo, Mike Romano looked every bit the retired type.

"It was time," said Romano, who retired from the Albany Police Dept. on Tuesday. "Times have changed in 25 years."


Romano, 52, began his career as a dispatcher for Colonie Police. He spent nine years there before joining the Albany Police force. He's a life member of the Fuller Road Fire Dept. and the fire coordinator in Colonie. He and his wife have four kids, ranging in age from 33 to four, and five grandkids. They were there on Tuesday outside Albany Police HQ. His son David has been on the force for seven years and says growing up difficult with a dad as a cop.

"It was a little tough," David said. "He always knew what you were doing, when you were going to do it and how you were going to do it. There was no lying to him. I admire him."

Mike Romano followed his father Mike Sr. into public service. He was an Albany Firefighter and started the FF Union in the 1970s after many meetings with Mayor Corning. Mike sat with his dad.

"I walked many picket lines at the age of five years old...," Romano said. "I watched my dad's career, both my uncles Albany firemen. My one uncle John Romano NYS Fireman of the Year making a rescue down on Pine Street down by City Hall one day, grabbed a gentleman out of a building. So how do you not follow that? It's in your blood."

He recalled one of the toughest days, the Benson Street fire on October 17, 2012, when he put both his firefighting and cop skills into action and one of his best days, helping a kid fix his bike chain and buying Thanksgiving dinner for a local man with five kids, down on his luck. He told him "You get them groceries, you get them a turkey and you cook it for them. You promise me you'll cook them dinner I'll buy it for them. He did. And the kids were here a few days later and thanked me."

WEB EXTRA -- (not seen on TV): Mike Romano tells emotional story about the 2012 Benson Street fire

Romano's company, which is trucking plus snowplowing and landscaping, has sponsored tee ball teams and this Saturday he knows right where he'll be.

"It's just time to do some family time. Five grandkids. I want to go to their games," he said with a smile, adding, "We sponsored it for years down in West Albany and fortunately three of the grandchildren got picked to play on that team so it'll be a lot of fun to go see them all play."

He has advice for the community and the cops:

"Sometimes that hurts when you've got to be the bad guy when the kids are crying and you've got to take mom or dad out of the house or the brother or sister and unfortunately, we have to make that arrest. It's sad. It breaks your heart. Or you walk into some of these houses and they don't have much.

"The cops aren't always the bad guy. Unfortunately, we have to be sometimes."

"The criminals in the world, they set their own destiny. We're just here to protect the good people. And that's what we do."


WNYT Staff

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