By Cecelia Ellis
For The Republic
As he left his police car for the last time, Lt. Randall S. Marshall left a note to the police officer who will eventually replace him.
The message was simple; it read, “If you do this job properly, it will be the most noble thing you will ever do.”
“Someone said that to me once and I just wanted pass the thought along,” said Marshall, as he remembered his more than 20 years service with the North Vernon Police Department.
Marshall retires from his career in law enforcement this month.
“It’s a difficult job, but there are many good things about the job. There are many opportunities to help the people you encounter. For the most part, people are good. There are very few really bad people. But, sometimes, good people make bad decisions,” Marshall said.
“A policeman has the rare opportunity to help people actually change and improve their lives. And, police work certainly provides the opportunity to help the victims of crime or tragedy. That is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. You can help people when they are the most vulnerable and need help the most,” he added.
Some aspects of the job were difficult, especially death notifications, Marshall said.
“To look into the eyes of the person in front of you and tell them that the person that they love, who is a center of their lives, is no more. That is terribly difficult. Also, investigating a child’s death or abuse of a child is very, very disturbing.”
Overall, Marshall said serving as a police officer has been a pleasure, and he hopes he has had a positive impact on the people he encountered.
Change in plans
The 52-year-old Marshall did not plan to make law enforcement his life’s work.
After graduating from Jennings County High School in 1984, he earned an associates degree in horticulture at Vincennes University and returned to Jennings County. He worked for two companies in Columbus: Arvin Industries for six years and as a security guard at Cummins Inc. in for five.
While working at Cummins, he volunteered as a reserve police officer in Jennings County and decided he would like to join the North Vernon Police Department. He left Cummins and went to work at NVPD in 1997 as a patrol officer. Eventually, he was promoted to sergeant, then detective and lieutenant.
Marshall said he would remain in Jennings County after his retirement.
“I am not going anywhere. I will continue to be a part of this community,” Marshall said.
He plans to spend more time with his wife Brenda, daughter Rebecca and granddaughter Alixa.
An avid hunter, Marshall plans to enjoy his many hobbies, including wood working, wood carving and shooting.
Marshall also is considering dusting off his horticulture degree to start a lawn care and landscaping business.
“If I do that, it won’t be anything big or fancy. I want to save time to enjoy my life now,” Marshall said.
North Vernon Police Chief James Webster is inviting the community to a retirement party for Lt. Randall Marshall.
The party is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at Saint Anne’s Golf Course, 360 E. County Road 350N, North Vernon.
“We hope everybody that came to know Randall during his more than 20 years with the force will drop by, shake his hand and wish him well,” Webster said.
“A policeman has the rare opportunity to help people actually change and improve their lives.”
– Lt. Randall Marshall