Just Folks

Well-traveled trooper returns home

May 25, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

It's been a long journey but Lt. R. L. "Rick" Narron is back at the Maryland State Police in Hagerstown, now as barrack commander.

"I am official as of April 27," Narron said. "I replaced Greg Johnston, who has retired."

Narron, 50, describes himself as a military brat, growing up in a lot of different places. It wasn't until he was a freshman in high school that he and his family became Washington County residents.

"I graduated from North Hagerstown High School and then entered Hagerstown Junior College in criminal justice," Narron said. He was president of the HJC student government his sophomore year.

In his first stint as a law enforcement officer, Narron served as a Washington County Sheriff's deputy in 1977 and 1978.


From 1980 to 1987, he was a Hagerstown City Police officer.

While he was working, Narron completed his bachelor's degree in sociology/criminal justice at Frostburg State University in Hagerstown.

"I joined the Maryland State Police in February 1987," Narron said. Although his residence has remained in Washington County, his life became rather typically nomadic as he gained experience and earned higher ranks at a number of barracks and special operations units. Those barracks included Frederick, Rockville, Cumberland and Hagerstown.

In between those assignments, Narron worked drug interdiction on Interstate 81, community policing all around Maryland and later with another special operation unit before becoming a first sergeant and serving four years in Hagerstown.

Once he made first lieutenant, Narron went to Garrett County in 2004, where he was McHenry barrack commander until he returned to Hagerstown last month.

"There are some new troopers but I know many of the others here," Narron said. "All of my command staff I've known for many years."

The Hagerstown barrack has 37 sworn personnel and nine civilians. While that may seem like a lot of people, Narron said the number of troopers actually on the road on any given shift is low.

"We have a good working relationship with the Washington County Sheriff's Department," Narron said. Their deputies and his troopers coordinate their coverage of Washington County on each shift.

"It is still enjoyable knowing officers at both Hagerstown Police and Washington County Sheriff's Department," Narron said.

A veteran of 30 years in law enforcement, Narron said he is amazed at how fast time has gone and the changes that have occurred.

"Interstate travel and development have really impacted on our job," Narron said. "I for one never thought the migration from the city would make it over South Mountain."

Other challenges Narron said police are facing is increased gang activity in Washington County associated with an escalation in drugs and violence.

"There are a lot more weapons also," he said.

Narron said he wants to put more emphasis on schools since school resource officers are vital in learning about gangs.

"It's always a challenge what we will have to deal with next," Narron said. "But our troopers have had the best training in the world - they will be prepared for the neverending battle."

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