While students traveled home to their families last week, Gainesville Police Department Lt. Will Halvosa stayed in Gainesville.
Working on Thanksgiving is not a new experience for Halvosa. He has been with GPD for 22 years.
To Halvosa, Thanksgiving means celebrating with his fellow officers while remaining alert during his 10-hour shift.
In the morning, officers all eat breakfast together at Phil-Nick's on Main Street.
Turkeys and other festive foods are provided to the evening-shift officers, who come in at 5 p.m., Halvosa said.
They never know when they'll get the next call signaling an accident or robbery.
"Historically, Thanksgiving has always been quiet," Halvosa said. "It's actually a good day to work because people are usually in good spirits. It's a family holiday."
He said there is less traffic on the roadways because most people have usually arrived at their destinations before Thanksgiving.
It's also beneficial when few businesses are open because people don't have a reason to travel, Halvosa said.
"It's the opposite of New Year's," he said. "Thanksgiving is geared more toward celebrating life, celebrating your families, celebrating your friends."
Halvosa said it isn't unusual for people with work shifts, such as people in the military and firefighters, to celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day.
"Thanksgiving becomes very flexible in this line of work," he said.
Halvosa traveled out of town Friday to spend time with family in South Florida.
"That's the arrangement I made with them," he said. "They understand the job I have."
Even though law enforcement demands some sacrifices, Halvosa took the time to enjoy Thanksgiving traditions with family members.
"The important thing is not the day," he said. "The important thing is being with your family."