As 2017 closes, the law enforcement community and their families are remembering the loss during this year of six retired, larger-than-life police officers. They had worked in Bartholomew County for more than a combined 150 years and left a legacy for others to follow.

Retired Indiana Master State Trooper and investigator Mike Arford died Sept. 1, well-known for his by-the-book training techniques and his focus on keeping fellow officers safe.

He had been an Indiana State trooper for 21 years, after starting out in the military as a Marine in intelligence work and later transitioning to teaching in the New Castle area before joining the state police.

His widow, Cheryl Arford, said that while the loss to her is personal, the community saw the passing of so many retired law enforcement officers from this area in 2017, most who served together during the 1970s through the 1990s.

“It’s just amazing how many of them we lost so close together,” she said.

“Many of these veteran officers had a huge impact to the younger officers who followed.”

In addition to Arford and fellow State Trooper Dave Richardson, the community lost retired Columbus Police Department officers Norman Barr, Gary Coon, Charlie Carson and Don Lawless.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.