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Officer Crowley stepping down after 31 years in law enforcement
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MPD officer George Crowley chats with fellow officers after a police call Tuesday afternoon in Manteca. Crowley is retiring as of December 17 after many years of service to the Manteca community. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Manteca police officer George Crowley has earned the respect of fellow officers as well as those law breakers he has taken into custody over the last 31 years in his law enforcement career.
No one has ever doubted his concerns about his cases, seeing his strict approach to crime and his demeanor that is always paramount on his face.  Fellow officers long ago tagged him with the nickname “Growly” for his stern expressions while working with suspects in the field.
The longtime MPD officer is retiring at the relatively young age of 52, saying he didn’t want to stay any longer on the job because there are things he wants to do while he is still young enough to do them. 
“I’m a physical guy and I like to do physical stuff,” he chuckled, referring to his outdoor challenges that take strength and resilience to accomplish. 
The veteran officer was working the day shift Tuesday with a new officer serving as his field training officer, giving him additional training before allowing him to go out into the community on his own.  He has trained dozens of new officers either as an FTO or having many of them come to him in the traffic unit or for FTO mentoring.
In responding to his stern characteristics toward crime, Crowley said he has been “all bark and no bite.”  Few have doubted his strength and seriousness in the handling of any situation that could have otherwise turned out badly.
When asked what criminal case stood out foremost in his mind during his tenure that started with the Ceres Police Department, Crowley said it was definitely the Halloween night murder several years ago when a man in his mid to late 20s killed his mother in an upper scale subdivision east of  North Union Road.  Still harboring those memories, he said he can’t understand how a grown adult son could have done that to his mom in their home.
Crowley was the primary officer assigned to the call that night on Golden Pond and the patrolman who found the son driving away from the crime scene on Lathrop Road and took him into custody.  He recalled that the suspect lied about the murder to his sister for nearly two days — and she was in the house during the attack, he said. 
Also in law enforcement is his younger brother Geoff, 48, who is serving as a deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department in Modesto.
Crowley felt some of his character might have come from his closeness with his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Pratt, in his growing up years at home in Modesto where he attended school from kindergarten through Modesto Junior College.  He remembers his grandmother being a stern woman with a strong Roman Catholic faith — thinking some of her character probably rubbed off on him.
At MJC he played the defensive end position and spent some time with the legendary Mike Glines — the successful longtime coach from Central Catholic High School who went on to the MJC gridiron.
Crowley who might easily be described as a “cop’s cop” also served as the department’s firearms instructor and worked with the public getting their concealed carry permits under the approval of the police chief.  Probably one of the most exciting assignments for him was flying in state-provided helicopters in the search for marijuana plantations in the county with only the pilot on board. That was in August and September in 1992 in the department’s ‘80s and ‘90s campaigns.  He noted they were successful in their searches.
The Manteca officer worked in the traffic unit as a motorcycle traffic officer for several years throughout the community, much of the time with now-chief Nick Obligacion, who was then the sergeant of that unit.  He could often be seen on Moffat Boulevard and its 45 mph zone where traffic easily moved up to 60 — 15 miles beyond the limit.
He sees his number one supporter as his wife Tracy, who has gotten used to the danger facing police officers over the years of their marriage. She has been with him on several ride-alongs on a shift, he said.  The couple has two children, a 23-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son.