Lost Ferndale police badge returned to family after 47 years

- A priceless family heirloom was missing for 47 years, but now it's back where it belongs.

Neil McGillis joined the Ferndale Police Department in 1937 and retired as police Chief in 1969. McGillis is the only officer in the department's history to be promoted from lieutenant to the City's top cop, skipping the rank of captain.

When he retired, McGillis was given his badge - but then it went missing.

Forty-seven years has passed, and now the badge has been returned to the former police chief's family.

"I never would have imagined something like this would happen," says Neil Wilson, the former chief's nephew.

"You have a badge in this line of work, it's very meaningful, to is it's the symbol," says Chief Timothy Collins, as he presented it to Wilson. "It defines us in many ways."

The badge was found 15 years ago by a teenager who lived in Roseville at the time. She used it as a toy, lost track of it and then recently found it at her mother's home and returned it.

"I think she knew it would mean something to somebody," Sgt. Barron Brown says.

It means the world to the former Police Chief's nephew, who is named after his late uncle.

"Proud, very proud to have the name," Wilson says.

Neil Wilson will now frame his uncle's police badge and enjoy the memories.

"I do remember a lot; I remember a big boisterous man," says Wilson. "And proud to be his nephew and that he was a big police officer."

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