Sheriff#8217;s detective retiring after two decades of service

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For two decades, he has pursued the bad guys. Now, he plans to find new pursuits, perhaps some more leisurely than what he has been accustomed to all these years.

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Holland, 63, retired last week after 20 years of service. He was honored Friday with a small get-together in his honor at the sheriff’s office, attended by the people who, after two decades, must seem like extended family.

Asked why he had stayed in a difficult and demanding profession for so long, Holland answered, “I liked the job. I like helping people and I’ve enjoyed being able to do that.”

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Holland began as a road deputy and joined the detective’s bureau in 1990. Those 20 years have included three sheriffs and investigations too numerous to list. One stands out in his mind, a mid-1990s drug bust that nabbed 39 people from the Ironton area.

“We worked that one a year,” he recalled. “We had the DEA, the FBI and another drug task force outside the county in on it with us. We had 30 vehicles lined up at the Ironton Hills Shopping Center to take the people away.”

Those memories drew amused gests from co-workers. Was it 1993 or 1994 when they made that bust? Or was it 1989? After so many investigations over so much time, it is hard to remember.

“I worked four years as a detective with him,” Deputy Carol Kitts said. And, noting the years can sometimes become fuzzy with time for her, too, added humorously “I can’t remember what year we did anything, either.”

What his co-workers do remember is that Holland was a hard worker who could be counted on, regardless of what year it was.

“I have appreciated his effort over the years. He’s been someone I could depend on and always performed his duties as expected,” Sheriff Tim Sexton said and then noted, “Twenty years is a long time to put in for law enforcement.”

“He’s always done a good job and I appreciate the effort he’s put forth,” Chief Deputy Jeff Lawless agreed.

What will Holland do with those happy golden years? That question drew amusement from some co-workers.“He’s going to walk around on his walker,” Deputy Scott Wilson joked.

Holland, of Chesapeake, said he has no firm plans, though he will remain as a special deputy, handling extra assignments such as inmate transports and so forth.