Three longtime police officers retire from Salisbury Police Department

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

When it’s time, it’s time. That’s a sentiment shared by three Salisbury police officers who are retiring after a combined 91 years of service.

Leaving are Deputy Chief Robert “Bobby” Harrison who has been with the department 30 years, Marvin Jones, a reserve officer who has 311/2 years of experience, and David Carroll who is retiring after 30 years in law enforcement.

The men were honored with trophies commemorating their years of service at a reception Wednesday afternoon at the police station.

They were each given their firearms and badges. Harrison and Jones retired in December. Carroll retired in October.

It seems Harrison has worked in every department in his 30 years. He began as a records clerk and filled in as dispatcher. He was sworn in as a reserve officer in 1977 and moved to patrol a few months later. Harrison eventually moved up the ranks from a sergeant in the patrol and detective division to an administrative lieutenant. He finished his career as deputy chief, a promotion he received in February 2006.

Although Harrison wanted to be a military helicopter pilot when he was young, he changed gears for what he says was a “rewarding career” in law enforcement.

Now that he’s retiring, Harrison said he’ll divide his time between his family’s farm where he’ll be raising cattle and growing hay, travelling with his wife, Rhonda, and spending time with his mother, Helen, who will be 90 in February.

Two of his most rewarding experiences, Harrison said, came early in his career when he helped save the lives of two people in separate incidents.

One was a man who was unconscious after choking on food. Harrison and another officer, Rick Hillard, performed the Heimlich Maneuver, which was fairly new at the time. The other incident happened when a woman was trapped in a car that was partially submerged after having wrecked.

Harrison held the woman’s head above water until rescue workers arrived.

In his early duties as a reserve officer, Jones worked with drug operations on the department’s drug squad.

“He was the only reserve officer to work with drug operations,” said Chief Deputy Steve Whitley.

Whitley said Jones was a huge asset to the drug squad because at the time their manpower was limited. “We were just getting started,” Whitley said.

Jones retired from his full-time job at KoSa, which is now Invista, after 351/2 years. He joined the Salisbury Police Department in 1975.

Jones is retiring because of his wife’s ailing health.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it and made a lot of good friends,” he said of his service.

Jones will continue with some part-time work in law enforcement, he said.

Carroll was most often seen patrolling the central business district on his bicycle. He joined the Salisbury Police Department in 1999.

He also helped with background investigations, driving instruction and physical fitness instruction, Whitley said.

Carroll said economically it was “smart” for him to retire. But, although he’s leaving the police department, he’s not leaving law enforcement. He plans to return to full-time employment in the law enforcement field.

Since his retirement in late September, Carroll has been a reserve officer with the department. He said he’ll continue in that capacity.

“I feel indebted to the city of Salisbury. If I can give something, I certainly will,” he said.

Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm said he is losing a lot of valuable service and years of experience.

“We can hire new officers, but not the experience that these guys have. I hate to see them go,” Wilhelm said.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or