Since the 1930s, a Zampelli has been serving the city of Akron.

Dan Zampelli worked customer service. His son, Dave, was a municipal clerk of courts. And on Thursday, after 33 years with the Akron Police Department, Capt. Daniel Zampelli took his last roll call.

Before dozens of friends and family members who gathered to congratulate him, he gave his signature line: “Be the difference out there.”

Zampelli, 57, was lauded — and roasted — for his commitment to Akron. He worked with Keep Akron Beautiful, graduated from Leadership Akron, steered programs that outfitted inner-city children with bicycles and inspired his fellow officers.

Zampelli began his career as a plainclothes security guard at Sears and recently became a grandfather.

He worked an administrative post for 15 years with APD. But in his last two years, he returned to the streets. “In my heart, this is where I wanted to be, back on patrol,” said Zampelli, a cheerleader for all the little and good things police do that go unnoticed each day.