A local police officer has retired from the force this week after more than 25 years of duty.
Tracy Anderson has been with the Marshalltown Police Department for 28 years. He ended his career with law enforcement 16 months early because of an injury that happened outside of duty.
"It's been an enjoyable 28-year career," Anderson said. "I wish I could've made it 30, but unfortunately when you get to be over 20 and you have accidents or injuries sometimes you can't finish out your career."
T-R PHOTO BY STEPHANIE IVANKOVICH
Tracy Anderson sits in a desk at the Marshalltown Police Department during his last week of work. Anderson has been with the MPD for 28 years and retired this week.
Anderson started in 1985. He said he has had different jobs within the department and has worked every shift.
"When I first started everybody accuses me that my reports were written on rock and I had to chisel it in stones," Anderson said. "I was patrol, accident investigator, Task Force undercover, detectives, certified to test marijuana, with chemicals, not rolling papers, that's about it."
He said his favorite job was working on the Mid Iowa Drug Task Force. He worked there for three years in the '90s.
"The Task Force was probably the most fun and that covers four counties," Anderson said. "It was long days and long nights. There was only two of us. There was a lot of work and a lot of downtime too."
Anderson said one his favorite stories with the Mid Iowa Drug Task Force was when he was working undercover in Gilman.
He said he was in an undercover car doing surveillance work to get a search warrant. When the search warrant was obtained, Ted Kamatchus, Marshall County sheriff, was helping with the search. During the search, a woman came up to Kamatchus and Anderson who was wearing a mask.
"She says, 'Sheriff I just wanted to let you know, I know you're busy here, but, there's a gentleman who has been driving around in this vehicle and he's been acting real suspicious. He's been here most of the day and he looks kind of rough and looks like he was going to cause problems here in town,'" Anderson said.
"I looked at her and said, 'What did he look like?' Knowing that she was talking about me because she lived in an apartment building where I left that vehicle to do the search warrant," Anderson said. "She said, 'Well he was kind of built like you.' I looked at her and took off my mask and said, 'Did he kind of look like me too?' and she said, 'Oh my gosh.'"
Anderson started to laugh.
"The best part about it is, when we were done, I went back to my vehicle and there was a note that said, 'Sorry that I said you looked rough looking and all of that,'" Anderson said.
Anderson said he has a lot of stories, but most he can't remember.
"Everybody always says, 'I wish I would've kept track of everything I've done and wrote a book,'" Anderson said. "It's hard to think back to those memories in 28 years. There's been good memories and there's been bad memories."
He said in those 28 years, a lot has changed with the Marshalltown Police Department.
"When I first started we didn't have any females, now we have six and they do a good job," Anderson said. "I don't know one of them that would back down for anybody."
He said Marshalltown has grown a lot since he started. When he started, he said there were three or four officers on a shift, now he said it isn't safe unless there are at least five.
"You're always going to need police officers," Anderson said. "The way the city is growing you're going to need more officers than what you have now. The thing is, the way it is now, the city administration, the city fathers are going to have to figure out how they're going to take care of those officers that are needed."
He said he would like to see a new police department for those officers and to draw new ones in.
"I've been in this building for 28 years and it was falling apart 28 years ago," Anderson said. "We're just not seeing the young officers wanting to come to Marshalltown, I mean there are because they keep applying, but a new police department would help. We're going to need new officers because we have older people here that are going to retire sooner or later."
Even though he is retiring from the MPD, he said he still wants to work.
"It's hard to leave, but on the other hand, it's kind of exciting too," Anderson said. "With me being only 53 years old, I'm looking forward to starting something new. I'm not really retiring, I'm just going to a different career."
After his recovery he will look for a different job.
"Once I recover from my wrist surgery and stuff I'll go out and find another job," Anderson said. "It might not be high pay but I guess there's some things I'm looking at right now which will be in the spring. Who wants to go out in the wintertime anyway?"
Being 53, he said he is lucky he was not injured on the job.
"I always said being 50 was too old to be out on the street," Anderson said. "This job is not for older people. It's a young person's job."
Anderson said he will miss the people he works with.
"I'm definitely going to miss the people I work with," Anderson said. "There's a lot of people I've dealt with during my job I'm going to miss. Of course I'll still be in the area, but there's more people I'm going to miss working with or helping out than I'm going to miss having to deal with."
The MPD will miss him too.
"He will be greatly missed," said Mike Tupper, MPD chief. "Tracy is a good man and a good police officer. We will miss his compassionate nature, his upbeat attitude and his infectious smile. I am proud to call Tracy Anderson a friend."