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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2002

3rd generation arrest prompts retirement plan

BY JASON WILLIAMS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Years before Lake Township officials breathed life and money by creating a police department, Marcia Scarberry donned a Walbridge police uniform and regulated the drunken railroad workers who hit the bars on payday.

“We had rowdiness,” Lake Township police chief Danny LaDuke said as he recalled the days working for Walbridge in 1972 along with Ms. Scarberry.

“She would be right beside you making arrests. She didn't hesitate for a minute. She got punched and helped wrestle them down.”

In 1978, as Lake Township officials were dealing with a truck stop near Libbey Road that drew prostitutes and thieves, truck stop owners pleaded for a township police department.

After the department was approved, Ms. Scarberry and Mr. LaDuke were some of the first hired for the force.

But, on March 1, Ms. Scarberry will have served long enough to become the first to officially retire her badge and her department issued semiautomatic handgun. Others have left the force, but none had worked long enough to retire.

Ms. Scarberry is giving it all up for a sailboat, golf clubs, and some camping equipment.

“Everybody is obligated to help the community and help improve it,” said Ms. Scarberry, 49, who has worked on patrol and the detective bureau. She currently works in the property room.

The community atmosphere started with her father, the late Forrest Scarberry, a former Walbridge village councilman and mayor.

“I could see the improvements in the community from his pursuits,” she said. After graduating from Lake High School in 1971, she went to work for the Walbridge police.

She worked as a dispatcher and the department used a federal grant so she could work with juveniles and safety programs.

Six years later, she moved to Lake Township for a bigger challenge and apparently found it. She has not applied for a another job since.

Over three decades, she worked with three police chiefs and remembers the day all three police vehicle broke down in the 1970s. The topper, though, was issuing an arrest warrant to a third-generation criminal.

The youth was wanted on burglary charge. Ms. Scarberry had arrested his father and grandfather.

“That tells me it's time to move on,” she said. “You think you've seen everything and something happens new and unusual.”

Her detective work included two high-profile cases: the 1999 double murder at the Knights Inn where Bachu “Bob” Patel, 50, and his son, Nitesh “Nick” Kumar, were shot to death by a repairman, and the 2000 killing of Larry McClanahan, 50, of Moscow, Ohio, who had his throat slashed in a shower stall at a truck stop. Both cases were solved.

She worked with Wood County Prosecutor Alan Mayberry on those cases. He met her about 22 years ago when he first started in the prosecutor's office.

“She understands what she needs as a law enforcement officer and what we need as prosecutors for juries,” Mr. Mayberry said. “She is always setting her sights to a higher level ... She's easy to work with and we get along well.“

She hasn't decided on a second career. Her colleagues were expected to throw a party for her yesterdayand bring out old photographs for laughs. Chief LaDuke expects up to 100 people to attend.

“I'm going to miss her and wish I could hire more like her,” he said. “I'll probably shed a tear. She's an icon here.”



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