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Colleagues have mixed feelings about Rogers' retirement

Friday, May 31, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

When Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers hangs up his gun, takes off his badge and retires in July, many who know and work with him will wish him well, even though they know he will be missed.

“I hate to see Mike go,” City Manager Leon Towarnicki said. “He’s been a good friend and an excellent and dependable employee to work with.”

That said, “certainly, I wish him the best,” Towarnicki said Thursday, shortly after the news broke that Rogers will retire on July 31 from a post he has held for nearly 14 years.

Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar said she has mixed emotions about Rogers’ announcement.

On the one hand, “I am very happy for him,” Ziglar said. However, on a professional level, she said she will miss the close working relationship the two have developed.

“Mike is extremely easy to work with,” she said.

With Rogers’ retirement comes a “great loss,” Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper said. “I’m really happy for Mike, extremely happy for him. Mike definitely earned it.”

Retirement will allow Rogers time to spend with his family and enjoy his parents, “and I am extremely glad for him, but he will be greatly missed by my department and especially missed by me,” the sheriff added.

Draper noted that Rogers “worked his way up (in the police department) from patrolman, and he’s been a great chief to work with. I’ve really enjoyed working with him, and I hope whoever” is hired to succeed him “will be as good to work with.”

Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said he has “really enjoyed working with Mike, and the working relationship” between the city police department and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office “is the best I’ve ever seen.”

Perry said when he became sheriff, Rogers “was really helpful, concerned. He gave advice and helped. He’s been really good to work with. I think he has served the public really well, and I do wish him well in his retirement.”

Henry County Sheriff’s Major Ricky Walker spent 21 years at the city police department working for Rogers.

“Mike has always been a good officer, a good administrator, and I think he’s always had the community’s best interests in mind with everything he tried to do,” Walker said. “He’s always done what he thought was best for the community, and nobody could argue with his work ethic.”

That dedication and commitment to the community is something that Rogers likely inherited, because “Mike’s whole family had a tremendous community service spirit,” Walker said. He noted that Rogers’ father, James Rogers, retired as the county sheriff many years ago, “and Mike has been in law enforcement for his whole career.”

With respect to the relationship “between not just authorities in the city and county but surrounding jurisdictions as well, I would venture to say that it’s probably the best now that it has ever been in my 27 years” in law enforcement, Walker said.

Mark Stroud, who retired after spending 16 years with the Martinsville Sheriff’s Office and now is a member of Martinsville City Council, said Rogers “has certainly been a very professional officer.”

When Stroud joined the sheriff’s office in 1995, “I started out having very high respect for Mike from the beginning, and I still respect him very much today. I think he will be hard to replace, but I also think there are people out there who are professional and have the training” to do the job, he said.

When a new person is hired, “certainly, it will be a transition process that the police department will have to go through, but hopefully the transition will go quickly and very smoothly,” Stroud said.

“I wish Mike all the best, and I know that he will stay busy working with people in fields of his expertise,” Stroud said. “And I wish him and his father (James Rogers) many, many days of hunting together.”


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