BRETT Bellis, who retired from Quakers Hill police after 41 years of service, is a walking encyclopaedia of major crimes in NSW and Victoria.
He rose to the rank of inspector and was involved in most of the major cases that made headlines from 1971 to 2011.
They included the murder of anti-drug campaigner Don MacKay in Griffith in 1978, the kidnap and murder of Renee Aitken, 5, in Narooma in 1986, and the arrests of Daniel Bernard Chapman for the killing of Detective Robert John Lane in 1980 and of Andrew Mark Norrie, who killed two men in 1986.
Mr Bellis said that among the worst cases was the killing of Michael Lewis and his wife.
He said the killer left their children, who were aged two and three, near their badly decomposed bodies and that they were there for several days until they were found.
Mr Bellis said he would never forget hearing one of them: "Mummy is turning green." He said: "We got our man by tracking him to a special rifle that was lent to him."
Mr Bellis, who is now a grandfather of one with another on the way, said he could never completely forget some of the other cases either.
"But retirement helps, because it allows me to spend more time travelling with my family and playing golf at Stonecutters Ridge," he said.
Mr Bellis was one of about 100 retired police officers and their wives and husbands at Retired Police Day at Quakers Hills and Blacktown on the 150th anniversary celebrations of the NSW Police Force.
The officers received commemorative pins at Quakers Hill police station from Superintendent Gary Merryweather and at Blacktown Workers Club from Superintendent Mark Wright.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the day enabled citizens and the current crop of police to recognise and commend the work of former officers.