Jan. 9 was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and the Marion Police Department celebrated with a party, showering seven particular officers with love.
The party celebrated Capt. Robin Young, Officer Gary Henderson, Officer Bill Alter, Lt. James Loftin, Sgt. David Day, Officer Kent Wilson and Sgt. Warland Artis, who will all be retiring from the force.
Each officer was given a badge of retirement and some were given plaques commemorating their service, complete with a scripture from Matthew 5:9 that read “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Mayor Jess Alumbaugh presented American flags to those who served for 25 years or more.
Officers present shared memories of their time at the department and their plans for the future.
“It’s bittersweet,” Henderson said about his retirement. “But after a while, you’re ready to move on and do something different.”
Although Henderson, who was hired in 1990, said he’s not yet sure what he plans to do next, he thinks he might do something with the local schools.
“You’re always welcome back here,” Deputy Chief Stephen Dorsey said.
Day said he’s the last of his group, having been hired in March 1993.
He said he’s had an “overall great experience,” crediting his positive outlook to his fellow officers.
Though Day said he will be moving on to work at Indiana University, joking that he’s 13 steps away from Sgt. Ross Allen, he’ll always remember his time with MPD, especially when officer Joe Martin was shot by Tony Toombs during an armed robbery case.
When Young came up to get his gifts, sniffles filled the room.
“Don’t start now,” Dorsey said, both he and Young tearing up.
Young was hired in July 1993 and recalled countless stories of stakeouts and working cases.
He said one of the most memorable moments was when he and Dorsey were in Detroit for work, trying to find someone named “Shorty,” and they listened to Motown music when they were off duty.
“Steph took me to Motown,” Young said, laughter breaking out. “We were in some pretty weird places.”
“Some pretty dangerous places,” Dorsey said in response.
Young said that they eventually got a call that “Shorty” had been arrested in Michigan, using an alias.
“The missing Shorty saga was done,” Young said.
Like he did many others, Dorsey greeted Wilson with a hug.
“Kent, we go way back, brother,” he said.
Wilson was hired in February 1996, and remembers a number of interesting cases, specifically that of Michael Collins, a man who killed Michelle Jaynes in 2003, burning her body in a car.
Wilson said he will now be working at a federal courthouse in Fort Wayne.
Loftin said his time at the department has been good, especially because of the friends he’s made.
When asked about memorable moments, Loftin couldn’t help but chuckle.
“I’m sworn to secrecy for most of it,” he said. “Probably when I was shot at at McDonald’s.”
Loftin explained that he was responding to an armed robbery at the restaurant where the suspect took off on foot, shooting at officers as he went.
“That really woke me up,” he said.
Artis was not present during the celebration.
Alter will remain with MPD, running the PAL Club.
Dorsey said the department will continue trying to hire more officers in order to keep 62 officers on the force.
“They are a lot of good men, a lot of great years and a lot of great cases,” Chief Angela Haley said. “They’ve provided a great service to this community.”