DEADWOOD — “You have embodied our values of integrity, commitment, and service,” reads their retirement plaques. “Thank you for steadfast dedication and loyalty to the citizens of Lawrence County.”
Dec. 18 marked the retirement of Lawrence County dispatchers Laurie Greeley and Rick White and with them, a combined 60 years of valuable law enforcement experience.
“It was a privilege to get to know them personally and professionally over the last 10 years that I’ve worked up here,” said Lawrence County Chief Deputy Pat Johnson. “And, of course, respect their dedication and their commitment to everything they sacrificed. Not only them, but their families.”
Johnson added that the families are well aware of the sacrifices made by each.
“They weren’t home during the day. It was nights, holidays, weekends,” Johnson said. “It was a huge sacrifice to commit to for that many years. I appreciate what they’ve done. It’s a big deal to hit retirement in this profession.”
While the department has lost decades of dispatch service, new and qualified personnel is in place to help with the transition.
“The train never stops,” Johnson said.
Greeley retires from a 40-year career in dispatch, 17 of those years spent with Lawrence County.
“It was just time,” Greeley said. “I was in Pennington County until 1993 and I worked as a supervisor there most of that time and then I moved and went to Sturgis and I ran dispatch in Sturgis until I decided I didn’t want to be a supervisor anymore and that’s when I decided to work in Lawrence County and that was in 2004, I believe.”
Greeley said she has no idea what she will do now.
“I’m kind of open on that. I know I’m going to Las Cruces in March with my husband, his mom lives down there now. And play it by ear.”
Greeley said each and every day was different in dispatch, with the potential to make a difference, making this line of work appealing to her.
“You never knew when you went to work what was going to happen,” she said. “So, it was challenging in that respect. It was rewarding in a lot of different ways. I was able to be there for a lot of different people in a lot of different situations throughout the years and it was just really rewarding work. I worked with a lot of wonderful people throughout the years and am still friends with a lot of them. I did the very best job I could do and I hope I served the public well.”
White retires from a 20-year Lawrence County dispatch career.
“What I liked about it was you got to serve the public in a way that you couldn’t do otherwise,” White said. “It’s hard to describe unless you’ve actually been in that position. Working in that position, you knew you were serving the public.”
White said what he’ll miss most about dispatching is the people.
“I’ll miss the people that I worked with, just simply because they’re very dedicated people. They’re very idealistic, which is hard to find in this day and age, but they really do feel that they’re making a difference.”
Future plans for White?
“I’m going to relax a little bit,” he said with a laugh. “I want to take off some of the pressure that comes with that position and I’m gonna’ do some fishing, I’m gonna’ be spending some time with family, and, you know, stuff like that that I wasn’t able to do when I was in that position.”
White said that he hopes the public would understand what law enforcement personnel sacrifice.
“In their hours and the sacrifices that they make, as far as family, you know, working on holidays, working on weekends and all this stuff, just because they think they’re making a difference,” White said. “I just wish the public understood what these people are going through, because, with all of the negative things that you hear about law enforcement these days, well, these are special people. They really are and I just wish the public understood what these people do on a daily basis that most people don’t understand.”
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