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Published: Monday, 5/12/2008

Toledo officer set to retire and this time, he means it

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sgt. Richard B. Murphy, here with grandson Cael Katafiasz, says he decided to retire after the death of a good friend and colleague.
Sgt. Richard B. Murphy, here with grandson Cael Katafiasz, says he decided to retire after the death of a good friend and colleague.
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He has said it so many times before, but this time he insists it s for real.

Despite announcing his retirement at least four times in the past, Sgt. Richard B. Murphy said he will end his 29-year career with the Toledo Police Department when he retires Friday.

I m going this time, said the spunky, 66-year-old sitting on the porch of his Point Place home.

Some remain skeptical.

I won t believe it until he leaves, said Capt. Ray Carroll, who has known and worked with Sergeant Murphy throughout his time on the force.

His decision to retire came after the sudden death of his good friend, former Deputy Chief Ron Spann, he said. The two had planned to retire together. When Mr. Spann died unexpectedly in February, Sergeant Murphy said he decided that it was time to say good-bye.

He was the sticking mud to keep me here, he said. He kept saying, Let s go another year, let s go another year.

Sergeant Murphy has served 41 years as a law enforcement officer. He began his career in 1967 with the Oregon Police Department, then spent two years as a Lucas County sheriff s deputy before heading south in 1971 to work for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

After two years in Florida, he returned to Toledo and was appointed to the local department in 1973.

Sergeant Murphy has worked in a variety of positions within the department.

He has spent time as a patrol officer, worked in the communications office and the chief s office, and has worked in field operations. He has been a sergeant since 1979.

Sergeant Murphy spent a short six-month stint as the department s public information officer in 2006 during Jack Smith s reign as chief.

Unofficially, he has served as the police spokesman for several years because, Chief Mike Navarre said, he loves being on television.

Most cops shy away from television cameras, he said. Murphy is a magnet to them.

Captain Carroll added: That s how we used to find him at crime scenes. I looked for the cameras and that s where I d find Murphy.

In Sergeant Murphy s nearly three decades at the Toledo Police Department, much has changed.

Technology has vastly improved and the department began using dashboard video cameras.

But rather than be intimidated by the new and sometimes unfamiliar gadgets, Captain Carroll said Sergeant Murphy made it a point to learn how to use them and taught others.

For a guy who has been a policeman that long, he made a point to learn it and be a teacher, the captain said. I always thought that was pretty cool.

As for his plans after retirement, Sergeant Murphy said he ll spend more time on the golf course and more time with his grandchildren.

Sergeant Murphy, who plans to work on his last day, expects it to be an emotional one.

For 41 years, it s been my whole life. That s going to be the big adjustment of how it s not my life anymore.

Chief Navarre said it ll be tough to replace Sergeant Murphy.

He s a guy that really, really loves his job. He loves coming to work and loves being around people, the chief said. I don t know of anybody out there like him.

Contact Laren Weber at:lweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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