Wagner retires after 26 years at IPD

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

Pam Wagner retired as the chief of the Ironton Police Department on Tuesday. (The Ironton Tribune | Mark Shaffer)

Started in 1978 as process server

On Tuesday, Ironton Police chief Pam Wagner retired after 26 years with the IPS and four decades in law enforcement.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve the people of my city,” she said.

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Her career began a week after she graduated from Dawson-Bryant High School in 1978, when she talked to Lawrence County sheriff Jim Howell and was hired to be a process server. She took a couple years off to raise her kids and then rejoined in 1989 for the sheriff’s office for six years as a special deputy, dispatcher, clerk and a member of the S.L.A.M. Drug Task Force.

She joined the Proctorville Police Department in 1992 and in 1996, joined the IPD as a patrolman. In 2006, she became sergeant. In 2013, she was promoted to captain becoming the first woman to achieve that rank and then in October 2017, she became chief.

At her retirement party on Tuesday in the lobby of the City Center, former IPD detective Capt. Joe Ross, who retired in October 2021 after 25 years, said they spent most of their life together and almost retired together.

“She has dedicated her life to the police department like the rest of us. She is a great person, a great mother and a great friend,” he said. “And surely, she will be missed.”

Mayor Sam Cramblit presented a plaque to Wagner for her years of service to the city.

“It has been a great pleasure serving with you and learning from you in your leadership role here in the city,” he said. “I am glad you stuck it out for almost my first term. We are all excited for you because you have put in the years and we are grateful for the 26 years of service.”

Wagner was also presented with a three-foot-long carved plaque in the shape of her badge. She said she was touched and knew just where she was going to put it.

“I thank all my brothers and sisters and all the members of FOP 75 for this plaque,” she said, but didn’t say where it was going to be placed.

And how does it feel to retire after so many decades of service?

“It’s good, it is bittersweet,” she said. “We have some of the best men and women who work at the Ironton Police Department, I have no doubt they are going to prosper and continue to move forward.”

As for what she will miss most “it is probably coming to work. I’ve never not worked. I’ve always had a job since I was 13 years old, so that will be different.”

Her retirement plans are to spend a lot of time with her husband, David, and their five grandchildren, camping, enjoying life and traveling.

The travel plans are why her friends bought her an extra-large suitcase with wheels.

“My best friends know me,” Wagner said, laughing. “They know we are planning to travel and I travel a lot with my friends.”

Wagner said the one thing she will miss is the people she has worked with.

“I’ve worked with some great chiefs, some great mayors. I will miss the people of the city, the employees here,” she said. “All the departments try to work together. So, it will be stuff like that I will probably miss.”

Capt. Dan Johnson will serve as interim chief. He has previously served as chief from 2013–2017.

The city charter specifies that a chief be chosen from the police department’s captains who have at least two years of experience with that rank.

That leaves Johnson and Capt. Brian Pauley to take the police chief test in April.