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Sheriff to retire after 42 years
Scott Marshall registered to vote, registered for the draft during the Vietnam War and became the youngest police officer in the United States at the Williams Police Department at age 18 in 1972.
After more than 40 years in Colusa County law enforcement, Sheriff Scott Marshall announced last week he will not seek re-election, and will retire.
"It's just time to move on. Forty-two years has been enough," he said.
During his time in service, Marshall has experienced interesting investigations and seen very few — if any — unsolved murder cases.
"Since I've been sheriff, I don't believe we've had one (unsolved murder case). There are some from years and years ago that are some bones discovered of unidentified people," he said.
He believes the department has been successful because they take the crimes seriously and "we have so few," Marshall said.
Plus, the county is small in population.
"When someone goes missing we know who they are, which is a good start."
The land mass of the county, however, is not small, which Marshall knows from firsthand experience walking roads in search of evidence in homicide cases.
In 1980, Marshall searched every culvert and every weed between Williams and Lake County for evidence related to the murder of Sheryl Ranee Wright, which he said was one of the most interesting cases he has worked on.
Wright's body was found in an oil well, and Marshall collected pebbles, thistle and oak samples at the scene.
Rocks were also found on the floorboard in the car belonging to witness Gerald F. Stanley.
Marshall said deputies sent the rocks to a geologist who determined that the rocks matched. They were a kind of rock only found in Kern County and they had been trucked to the well pad.
That physical evidence helped convict Stanley of the murder, who is on death row.
Marshall also found the murder weapon used by 16-year-old Clifton Bode to kill Albert Burnett in 1977.
The only information Marshall had was that the weapon was thrown from a car window somewhere between the scene near College City and Sacramento.
He was walking the road, removing trash, when he moved branches of a weed apart to find the gun, 5.2 miles from the scene.
Bode served his sentence and was released in 2012.
Investigations involve gathering a lot detailed information for many possibilities, which Marshall said he doesn't think the public understands.
He said demands from the public have changed "because of TV and movies' influence of getting crimes solved in 42 minutes."
A long career
Marshall said he came to the Sheriff's Department in 1975, after the Williams City Council dissolved the Williams Police Department.
"They fired the police chief and it fell apart. Then, they had a few false starts."
He was a sheriff's deputy until 1979, then sergeant until 1984, a lieutenant until 1988, a captain until 2002 and took the sheriff position on Dec. 6, 2002, the day the former sheriff retired and a month before his term started.
Through his time in law enforcement, Marshall has come to believe that there is a lack of discipline in society and that lax laws on drugs and lying politicians are to blame.
Legalizing illicit drugs, are "giving the wrong direction for people to maintain discipline," Marshall said, noting that more than 80 percent of the property or violent crimes he sees are drug or alcohol related.
Another problem is a lack of integrity in political leadership.
"When we have the president of the United States go in and lie to everyone about his escapades, then what do you expect the public to do?" Marshall said citing a short list of presidents' who have been caught lying.
After 50 years of employment — Marshall mowed lawns and worked at a ranch and a drive-in movie theater before going into law enforcement — he is retiring.
Marshall said he has a love for the department and he will miss it.
"It's mostly the people — the dedication and drive to serve the community without much appreciation or much pay," Marshall said.
Sheriff wants new jail
Sheriff Scott Marshall said he plans to "get the process for a new jail started" In his last 15 months on the job.
"It's always been a search for the dollars to make it happen," Marshall said.
The county took a step forward on Tuesday when supervisors decided to proceed with submitting a proposal application to the state for a grant to pay for the construction of a new jail.
Marshall said there are five, $20 million grants available for improvements for small jails and there are at least five small jails in the state that are overcrowded and releasing inmates.
Marshall said the Colusa County jail is more than 50 years old, it's worn out and it's not compliant with current standards. But, it is not overcrowded.
"This jail has served the community well. The sheriff that had it built in the '60s did a fine job," he said.
Sergeant announces bid
Colusa County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Joe Garofalo is the first candidate to officially announce his intention to run for sheriff in 2014.
Garofalo announced last week that he would be running for office. Candidates have until March 7 to file for candidacy.
Garofalo, a lifelong Colusa resident, has worked for the Sheriff's Department for almost 18 years, and has been a sergeant since 2007.
"This is something I've been planning for the last four years now," Garofalo said. "I plan to improve our small-town way of life by working with youth and schools, in addition to working with the ag industry to create some type of networking system for local farmers, to reduce ag crime."
— Brian Pearson