Faith, respect guide Lt. Boneski into retirement after 25 years with Abbeville Police Department

Lt. Joseph Boneski spent 25 years with the Abbeville Police Department.

Joseph Boneski II sits at the desk in his office at the Abbeville Police Department Thursday afternoon.
It’s a space Lt. Boneski has spent much of his time in recent years. On this Thursday afternoon in late July, it’s his for only a couple of more hours.
When Boneski completed his shift Thursday evening, he walked into a phase of life for which every working man and women strives.
“Retirement is a good word,” Boneski said with a smile.
Boneski, 47, is leaving the Abbeville Police Department after 25 years.
“Yeah, I’m excited,” Boneski said. “I’m young enough to do other things.
“It’s going to be a fun adventure.”
The last two and a half decades certainly have been. Boneski joined the Abbeville Police Department in 1990, following in the law enforcement footsteps of his father, the late Joseph Boneski Sr., a former sergeant with the APD. Boneski became a full-time officer at 21, after spending three years as reserve officer.
“This was always something that I wanted to do,” Boneski said.
Twenty-five years later, with the career goal accomplished, there’s plenty he will miss.
“I’m going to miss the guys,” Boneski said. “I’m going to miss the people here. It’s a family here and everybody gets along.
“That’s the thing I’m going to miss the most, the family atmosphere.”
It is an atmosphere that is cultivated out of necessity.
“With what we do, you have to have that,” Boneski said. “Everybody goes through a lot of things
together. I’ve been involved with officers being killed. We all go through that together.”
Tragic moments often stand out against other memories over the course of time.
“It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing that I will remember most,” Boneski said of the memories that he will carry with him. “The one thing that affected me most was back in 1992, when John was killed.”
John “Dooley” Hardy died on Dec. 24, 1992, having been shot during a traffic stop late on Dec. 23. Hardy and Boneski walked a similar path to wearing a uniform.
“We went to the academy together,” Boneski said. “We worked together at an ice factory before coming here (APD). He’s the one who got me a job at the ice factory. We did a lot together, even prior to coming to the department.
“It’s not a good memory at all, but that’s what probably stands out for me the most.”
Boneski matured as an officer and person during the 25 years he gathered all of the memories he will take with him. There is one thing that remained a constant during those 25 years, and it is the advise he would give any young officer.
“I have a clean record over 25 years,” Boneski said. “I always tried to treat people with the utmost respect. What I would tell new officers is to treat people with the respect you want them to give you.
“That’s what got me through 25 years.”
What will get Boneski through the next 25 and beyond is his faith. He is an in-house minister at Abbeville Pentecostal Church.
“I will be able to be a whole lot more involved with that,” Boneski said, “which I’m really looking forward to. I am the missions director at the church, so I will be more involved with that.
“That’s rewarding.”
Boneski is not completely walking away from the APD. He will serve, on a volunteer basis, as the department’s Chaplain and as a reserve officer.
“I will still be involved,” Boneski said. “I just won’t have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. anymore.”

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