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SPD Salutes retiring captain
'Man of Steel' honored by police officers


 EASY RIDER....Captain Ken Edmunson sits in front of the Searcy Police Building on his new motorcycle,
a retirement gift to himself after 26 years on the force. Edmunson, the supervisor of the patrol division, said
he will go on vacation Monday and his last official day on the police department roster will be July 31.
"After that I plan to ride my motorcycle and spend time with my family," he said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
(Citizenphoto by Dale Ellis)

Captain Ken Edmunson hangs up his badge after 26 years

By HOLLY LATIMER    15 July 2003

Staff Writer

Cruising on his new motorcycle, doing small projects around the house and spending time with his 6-year-old
daughter are the immediate plans of Captain Ken Edmunson after his retirement. Edmunson will begin his
retirement with a vacation this week.
Edmunson will be leaving the police department after a 26-year career that began on July 5, 1977.
"It was July 5, 1977 at 8 a.m. The uniform budget was tight. My shirt and pants were too big," he said. The uniform
at that time was a light blue shirt. Edmunson had the uniform altered to fit. "They didn't buy a uniform until they saw
if you were going to stay or not."
Edmunson began work at the police department approximately one month before current Police Chief J. R. Thomas.
Also when Edmunson began his career, Mayor Belinda LaForce was an assistant city clerk, Prosecuting Attorney
Chris Raff was a deputy prosecutor, Judge Robert Edwards was the prosecuting attorney and Dean Hunter was the
chief of police. At that time there were eight police officers compared to 41 at present full staff.
During his tenure, Edmunson has worked for five mayors and three chiefs of police. He has worked in patrol division
as a shift supervisor, as lieutenant of patrol, lieutenant in the criminal investigation division, on the drug task force and
as the public information officer.
"I have worked in every job assignment the police force has to offer," he said.
Also during his career, Edmunson said that he has ticketed future law enforcement personnel including his co-worker,
Captain Kyle Osborn.
Osborn said that Edmunson wrote him a ticket in 1978 before he became a police officer. "I have been counting the
days until I can pay him back," Osborn said with a laugh.
Osborn said that he has worked with Edmunson for 21 years. "I will miss him. He has been instrumental in a lot of
things that have gone on inside this police department. A lot of institutional history will be leaving when he retires.
I could write a book on Ken Edmunson," Osborn said.
Edmunson said that in his career that he hopes that he has had a positive influence on not only his co-workers, but
also the community in which he lives.|
"I have had the opportunity to impact lives positively," Edmunson said.
Edmunson said that he is not the same person who began his career.
"I am not the same bright-eyed child that went to work," he said. He laughed saying that some officers had nicknamed
him "the man of steel, that he had no feelings."
Edmunson said after officers have been on the job, they are not the same person that they were even a year before.
"Experiences change who you are overnight," he said. "You can let it eat you up or let it change you. You change faster
than your family can keep up with sometimes."
According to Edmunson, police officers see a part of the community that many do not always get to see. He said that
officers deal with approximately 10 to 20 percent of the community who are never happy to see them.
"It gives officers a skewed view based on their experiences," he said.
When Thomas created the public information officer position, Edmunson said that he was given a different view of the
community.
In this position, he spoke to civic clubs and in schools.
"I saw the community in a totally different light. As an officer on the street, you don't always see that," Edmunson said.
Although he said that working with the City of Searcy provided a window into the city that no one else has, he felt it
was time to retire.
"After 26 years, I was beginning to lose my fire," he said.
Now, he plans to transfer that fire into riding his new Honda DX218 cruising motorcycle.
"I used to do a little riding," Edmunson said. "I used to have bikes. I haven't owned one in 28 years."
He also plans to spend more time with his children.
"I have a six-year-old I would like to raise," he said. "I plan to have a little more family time."
He also has several household projects to complete.
"Shari has a whole list of projects," he said. "Finish the flower bed. Finish the deck. Finish the playhouse."
When these projects are complete, he said may do some more home repair.
As for his career at the police department, he said that looking back "you begin to think that it belongs to you. Then
you realize you are just passing through. In the end, you see if you have been a good tenant."
Edmunson said that there was no real reason as to why he chose this time to retire.
"My energy for the job is not like it used to be. It's someone else's turn," he said.
Edmunson plans to take off at least three months to renew old acquaintances.

"I think its time."


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