PoliceOne Staff Report (PHILADELPHIA) -- The Philadelphia Police Department paid former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo one of its top honors yesterday by retiring his police badge, No. 3967.
The legendary Rizzo died in 1991 during his fifth mayoral election, his wife Carmella and son, City Councilman Frank Rizzo, were at the ceremony to accept the honor.
"This is the first time in Philadelphia history where a police officer went on to become mayor," Police Commissioner John Timoney told the Philadelphia Daily News.
"Retiring the badge is a fitting tribute to the memory of Frank Rizzo. It's also nice that it's being done while Mr. Rizzo's widow is able to participate in the ceremony."
This is only the 23rd time the police department has retired a badge, a tribute usually paid to officers that have died in the line of duty.
Many said that although he quit the police department to run for mayor, Rizzo never stopped being a police officer.
"He loved police work, more than anything in his life," his son told the Daily News.
The "Cisco Kid," as he was called, became know for his kindness as well as his ability to use force when necessary.
There is a famous photograph of Rizzo wearing a tuxedo with a nightstick stuffed into his cummerbund. Some people point to that photo as an example of Rizzo's brutality, but police look at it as an example of his constant vigilance.
In 1972 Rizzo served his first of two terms as mayor, the city's first Italian-American to serve in that office. He ran two more times unsuccessfully for the position and died in 1991 at the age of 70 in the middle of his fifth run.