Cpl. Stark Laney retires from

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Troy Police Dept. after 22 years

Even a super-sleuth would have a hard time discovering himself when suddenly out of his element after 22 years.

Cpl. Stark Laney, a detective with the Troy Police Department, is finding himself in just that very situation.

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Today, Laney will walk away from the police department a free man.

And, even though he has been preparing for this day a long time, he compares his situation to being newly divorced and "trying to pick up a date in a singles’ bar."

"I haven’t looked for a job in 20 years and, now, I’m out there trying to promote myself and it’s a very difficult thing to do," he said, laughing.

Laney admitted he might get a lump in his throat this afternoon when he walks away from his "family" at the TPD. But, he believes it’s time for him to move on to other things, however not too far from his "blue" roots.

He, his wife, Becky, and son, Bill, will soon move to Panama City where he is considering a teaching position in criminal justice at Gulf Coast Community College and also at a nearby police academy.

He also has several other opportunities he wants to pursue because, although he’s retiring from the Troy Police Department, he’s not ready to retire.

Laney said working with the Troy Police Department was the best job he could have had because he worked with the best people around.

"We’re like family," he said. "We support each other in every way possible. It’s been a great 22 years and I know that I’m going to miss them and I hope they’ll miss me, too."

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage assured Laney he will be missed at the TPD.

"To say that we will miss him is an understatement," Everage said. "He is going to be a hard person to replace because of his experience in crime scene investigation. He knows how to handle evidence and how to deal with it. Stark has been an outstanding investigator for us. The knowledge he has can’t be learned overnight. He will be missed."

Capt. Lewis Fannin, division commander of the Criminal Investigation Division,

also said Laney has been an outstanding member of the department.

"He is dependable and you can always count on him to do his job to the best of his ability," Fannin said. "Stark is one of the most innovative people I have ever known. The implementation of many of his ideas has contributed greatly to the efficiency of the department. His knowledge of computers has kept us up to date with the latest technology and he’s going to be a hard person to replace."

Laney started his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher with the Brundidge Police Department in 1976. During that time, he realized law enforcement was his calling.

Once he made that decision, he has never looked back and he has never had any regrets.

His first

"calling" – a false alarm – was in the field of art, but his degree proved to be beneficial as a law enforcement officer. His free-hand composite sketches of suspects led to the arrest of several criminals. But, he was best suited as a crime scene investigator and that’s where he excelled.

Laney liked the challenge of putting the pieces of a "puzzle" together and, the more difficult the puzzle, the harder he tried.

"I suppose the two most memorable cases for me were the Terry Dean murder and the pawn shop murder," he said.

"We worked around the clock on both of those. Solving those murders was a group effort. Everybody did their part and did it well.

We worked 36 hours straight on the Dean murder and, in five days, had two men charged with capital murder."

The Edna Reeves case was the most disappointing one for Laney because it has not been solved.

"That was not, originally, our case," he said. "But, we did work the case and I believe it will be solved because the law enforcement officers in Pike County don’t give up. "

When Laney leaves the Troy Police Department today he will no longer be an official part of the law enforcement family but he will leave a part of himself behind. And he will take a part of his "family" with him.

"Going back to my days in Scouting, I learned to leave things better than you found them," he said. "I hope I will leave the Troy Police Department better than I found it. I hope I have made a difference. The experiences I have had there have made a difference in me."