In 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbets Field, Doris Day sang "Que Sera, Sera," and an officer named Snider joined the Whitehall Division of Police.

But that familiar name is absent from the rolls for the first time in more than 60 years since Sgt. Randy Snider, 60, retired last month after a 33-year policing career in Whitehall.

His father, Charles Snider, joined the division in 1956. In 1978, his brother, Gary, became a Whitehall police officer. Charles Snider retired in 1980.

Almost four years later, on Jan. 9, 1984, Randy Snider became a full-time Whitehall officer and served with his brother until Gary Snider retired in 2004.

"We knew we would be police officers," Randy Snider said, also speaking for his brother while recalling the stories their father would retell to his wife and four children.

"In the eighth grade, we were asked to write a paper about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I was very specific that I was going to be a police officer, and that was that," said Snider, who graduated in 1975 from Whitehall-Yearling High School.

Snider worked several other jobs before becoming a Whitehall auxiliary officer in 1981, then graduating from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy.

Snider's other jobs included painting vehicles at several central Ohio automobile dealerships.

The expertise he gained later would benefit the department and allow him to leave a legacy after his retirement.

Snider designed the paint schemes and insignias on the division's current and past fleet of cruisers.

In 1990, Snider designed the cruisers' blue-and-gold motif featuring a gold police shield with a dark-blue diagonal swoosh on each door.

In 2008, he designed the department's current classic black-and-white look of its cruiser fleet.

The former design won several cruiser competitions for appearance.

"I believe you should always have a sense of pride when putting on a uniform and your police car is your office. (A cruiser) is a reflection of you, your city and law enforcement in general," Snider said.

But it's the technology inside the cruiser that changed the most in the three-plus decades Snider served.

"We can instantly communicate now" and know so much so quickly, Snider said.

Information was not so readily available on Valentine's Day 1988, the only instance in Snider's on-duty career in which he fired his gun.

On that evening, Snider witnessed one civilian car chasing another on East Main Street.

One of the drivers told Snider the other had struck his car and fled.

Unknown to Snider, the lead driver was fleeing from the scene of an armed robbery in Columbus.

The suspect eventually stopped near Lamby Lane Park and ran, firing toward Snider, who returned fire, emptying his .38-caliber revolver.

Snider was prepared to reach for his backup weapon but the suspect instead attempted to hide.

"We began using semiautomatic guns a short time later," Snider said.

A swarm of officers from Whitehall, Columbus and other departments responded to Snider's call for help and Columbus identified the man as their robbery suspect.

The suspect was sent to prison, Snider said, and after his release he was killed in a drug-related incident.

Snider received the Distinguished Cross medal for the incident Feb. 14, 1988, one of numerous awards and recognitions during his police career that included time in the detective bureau.

But while serving as an officer, Snider gained national recognition for something else: his musical talents.

Snider, known as the "singing policeman," has performed as a soloist at hundreds of events, including those at the National Police Memorial in Washington, D.C., numerous events in New York City associated with 9/11, and for President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and several Ohio governors.

He also performs live music as part of a band and continues to compose and record at his home studio.

Like many retirees, Snider said he will miss the people he worked with but also looks forward to spending more time composing music and playing golf.

Deputy Chief Tracy Sharpless called Snider "a true professional with both the public and his peers" whose "leadership and attention to detail will be greatly missed."

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo