After serving more than 40 years between the Army and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Danny “Cuz” Pittman is ready to retire.
He’s jumped out of planes, traveled the world, written tickets and cracked jokes with more people than he can count, but he is more than ready for the road to retirement, which started Wednesday.
“I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none. I appreciate the citizens of Liberty County, and I met a lot of great people,” said Pittman, who came to work for the LCSO in 1990 when Bobby Sikes was sheriff. He now leaves the department under the reign of Sheriff Steve Sikes, Bobby’s son.
Born and raised in Boston and a globetrotter by career, the retiring lieutenant has a love for delectable food and the company of good people. Once a familiar face walks into the sheriff’s office for the second time, Pittman automatically calls them “Cuz” as a friendly gesture.
“I call everybody “Cuz.” It makes ’em feel like family,” Pittman said. “I lucked out. I had a great chief deputy. I worked with a lot of great people. There are so many names I could put out there. They know who they are. I wish I could name all the names.”
Sgt. James Caines will take over Pittman’s position now that the 63-year-old lieutenant officially is retiring. Although Caines has been doing most of Pittman’s work since the department moved into the new justice center, he said the office won’t be the same without his buddy.
“He’s my best friend. He’ll be missed,” said Caines, 32. “I’ve met a whole lot of people in my lifetime … and there’s no better person than him, and I’ve got a real good dad. He changes the way people think.”
Caines has been with the department for 10 years and said the lieutenant takes care of everyday security and deals with the public, elected officials and inmate transport.
“I can do it just as good as he can do it. I’m not nervous at all. When you watch someone doing it all the time… it’s been seamless,” Caines said. “I’m going to miss that late afternoon conversation late in the day — just talking about life … we race to work early. We come early; we stay late. We very rarely argue. We argue to have fun. Our banter is wonderful.”
With his newfound extra time, Pittman plans to go on cruises twice a year, pick up golf putting and occasionally stop in and help out with some sheriff’s office programs as needed.
But as a man of routine, he still will get up at 5 a.m. and make the most of every day that he has left.
Pittman — a decorated Vietnam veteran and former paratrooper — said he also would like to visit the graves of three very close friends from his military days, which would allow him to check something off his bucket list.
He’s got a list of goals because he considers himself a man of adventure. Not a day should be lost to negativity or poor planning, he said.
“I try to do something for my life — 20 years for my country, 24 years for the citizens. Anybody who has been on the battlefield understands what I’m saying. Any day I come home, it’s a birthday,” he said. “Every day’s been my birthday. When it’s time, when the master calls me, I can’t complain. I’ve been around the world twice.”
Chief Deputy Keith Moran has worked with Pittman so long that he said it’s difficult to recount just one favorite memory. The chief deputy said the training and leadership Pittman has offered Caines has been excellent, one of the many reasons why he is so well-respected.
“You won’t find a better police officer, friend or someone so dedicated to helping the community. He’s spent countless unpaid hours of volunteering to speak to the kids of Liberty County, (working with) civic groups, the elderly, the neighborhood watch program. He tends to motivate people to test people harder,” Moran said.
“Certainly we’re going to miss his presence, but I hope and pray he gets bored rapidly and continues to come down to the sheriff’s office. I wish I could disapprove it, but his wife has overruled.”