LAKEWOOD - Sgt./Investigator Paul Gustafson recently stepped away from the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.
Gustafson had worked in the department since June 26, 1991.
"I decided to get into police work when I was 19 years old," said Gustafson, who went to Jamestown Community College for a degree in police science. He said he reached that decision when he did internships and ride alongs with officers and wanted to make a difference in the community.
In 1990, he attended the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy before working for the Ellicott Police Department in January 1991.
In June 1991, Gustafson began to work as a patrol officer for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.
From 1994-97, he was involved in community policing, which was a crime stopping policy initiative between police and citizens. He became an investigator in 2001 and attended the FBI National Academy in 2005 before becoming a sergeant in 2007.
During those 23 years he handled calls and enforced local and state laws. He also supervised the duties of officers and staff as well as prepared paperwork for court and assisting with the drug task force. However, the largest part of his career focused on working on the missing persons case of Lori Ceci Bova, who hasn't been heard from in 16 years after she went outside of her home on New York Avenue in Jamestown to smoke a cigarette.
"I hoped to have some conclusion, and I wanted to give some closure to the family," Gustafson said.
Gustafson enjoyed working with his subordinates and being able to assist people and making a difference in the community, he said. Despite police work being very hard, he enjoyed the variety it offered.
"No two days were ever the same," he said.
Gustafson will continue as a senior investigator at a company located in Western New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. He said it was a different career path, and it was best for himself and his family to make that transition.