posted on August 11, 2011 10:36
If you're headed out to see country act Rascal Flatts at Darien Lake Friday, there's a good chance you'll be directed into the venue by a Dibble. Once inside, you'll be overseen by a Dibble – if you get in trouble, you may be kicked out or arrested by a Dibble. And when you leave that night, a Dibble will be in the roadway to guide you home.
Friday night is the first time that Genesee County's new law enforcement father-son will work together: Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble on traffic control; his son, new Batavia Police Officer Eric Dibble, on the inner-venue enforcement team.
Not that either is very excited about it.
"I'll let you know how it goes," the 37-year veteran Chief Dibble deadpans.
"It will just be all-business," offers his son. "I don't think it would change the job or our roles, at all."
That all-business attitude seems to have infiltrated every part of their lives. In talking with the Dibbles, one might not even detect that they're father and son, save for their looks and almost identical speaking voices. There's only the palpable professional respect between them that most lawmen seem to share publicly.
But a small glimmer of pride in each other shines through.
"I have no doubt that (Eric) has the ability, the training, and the skills to do the job," says Chief Dibble. The Chief had the privilege of playing the proud father several weeks ago, pinning his son's badge at the Monroe County Police Academy commissioning ceremony.
"For me, it was a really nice symbol of what had happened so far...I really enjoyed the moment," says Eric.
It was the culmination of years of influence from his father. From birth, all Eric has ever known is that "Dad was a cop" – much like anyone else's father was a businessman or a construction worker.
"I grew into it. I had a lot of confidence in him, being my father," says the officer. Eric has no recollection of ever worrying about his dad's safety in such a high-stress, dangerous job. "I'm sure it crossed my mind, watching TV or a movie...but that's just the way it always was."
Likewise, Chief Dibble says he was lucky to be in a good marriage, so that police work never interfered with good parenting. "I think police officers a lot of times can be harder on their kids; they see things out there, and they don't want their kids to get involved with those things," he reflects. "I don't know that I experienced a great deal of those problems.
"My wife didn't work during the time he was growing up, so we were very fortunate."
But he expects things will be harder for his son.
"He's got a small child already...daycare, trying to balance two people's careers, shift work, days off: that's a lot to balance," says the Chief. That's why he tried to warn Eric before he entered the force.
But son still wanted to follow father.
"I understood the downsides of the career," Eric reflects. "In the end, I made the decision that the things I would get from policework outweighed the sacrifices: excitement, being in the community...things that are really important to me."
Looking ahead, Chief Dibble doesn't expect to work alongside his son too often. The Sheriff's Department does overlay the City of Batavia, but they don't do much road patrol work within city limits. And he expects Eric will do most of his learning, on his own.
"There comes a time when you've got to go out and do it, and that's how you learn."
PHOTOS: Top, Chief Dibble and Officer Dibble at police academy commissioning. Inset, Officer Eric Dibble during commission ceremony. Submitted by Chief Gordon Dibble