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Ironton police chief honored at going away party

Ohio State Highway Patrol Ironton Post Lt. Carl Roark stood near the fountain in the Ironton City Center, keeping one eye out for Ironton Police Chief William Garland who'll be serving as last day as chief on July 4.

"I'm excited for him, I think he's had a very rewarding career. He's made that decision and set the date to retire, and I have a lot of respect for him," Roark then added with a smile, "Šand I guess envy him at the same."

Roark was one of many gathered to see off Chief Garland at a going away party yesterday afternoon at the City Center. On Independence Day, Garland will end his four-year tenure as chief, the capstone on a 38-year career in law enforcement.

Garland's 10-year stint as a trooper was one of the things that first endeared him to Roark.

"I'd definitely describe the relationship as a cooperative one," Roark said. "Of course, Chief Garland has a past with the highway patrol, he was a former trooper, so we already had a bond of brotherhood there, and I think that carried through his service as a chief."

Though Garland was honored by the selection when he was chosen to fill the seat left by Rodney McFarland, he has never been much for the paperwork of being chief, preferring the streets to the station.

"I certainly won't miss the administrative work, I'm certainly not a desk jockey, I've always been a street cop, that's in my blood," Garland said.

"Just being around people and trying to solve some of their problems, that's what I'm going to miss most. You have to like people to be in this kind of business."

During the ceremony, Garland was presented with a plaque recognizing his years of service by Ironton Mayor John Elam, who said it has been an honor working with the retiring chief.

"The chief is very consistent," Elam said. "I could rely on him, and I think the people of Ironton could rely on him also. He always (wanted) to do the right thing and I think that's admirable and a trait everyone should try to take after him."

At the age of 62, Garland was convinced that the right thing to do was putting aside his gun and badge. However, he was not the one doing the convincing.

"It wasn't me, it was my family, they convinced me to hang it up. If you look right over there and see that blue-eyed little blond," Garland said while pointing at young Mykayla Cassity, "that's my granddaughter, and I'm just going to enjoy her."

Chief Garland's daughter Mikki Cassity who has recently returned to the region from Nashville was surprised to find herself with mixed emotions at the party.

"I'm sad and very happy at the same time," Cassity said. "We're sad because he says the only thing he's known how to do his whole life is be a police officer, and he's worried about adjusting. But my daughter's going to be so excited though, she's a total papaw's girl."

As Garland scooped Mykayla into his arms and offered her a sugar cookie while accepting the congratulations from the dozens that had attended, it was clear that Garland has much in his retirement to keep him busy.