Retiree is 'goin' to the house'

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Photos by Clint Confehr Sheriff Les Helton, left, holding the bag of goodbye goodies for retired Capt. Phil Blackwell, right, who's holding a plaque with his badge and bars.

Former Marshall County Sheriff's Capt. Phil Blackwell's retirement reception on Friday was part roast and part playtime with his grandson, a toddler who's one of the reason's for Blackwell's retirement.

There were fond farewells, back slaps, warm handshakes, cake, punch and a lot of sitting around by big men in uniforms with experienced officers talking about old times and others looking like they're ready to pounce.

Without criminals to chase, or fires to extinguish, these big cats, guardians of peace and safety were like a posse ready to ride and no where to go. So, some of them had to mess with Phil one more time.

"Tell him about the car that you lost," the quiet and retiring captain was told by Detective Capt. Norman Dalton, who wasn't the only one to mention a story that Blackwell didn't mind repeating on the last day of his 34 years with the Sheriff's Department.

No other sheriff's employee has worked so long in Marshall County.

"The city had some break-ins and I went out Nashville Highway," Blackwell said, starting a story that's supposedly embarrassing, but ends with the bad guy behind bars.

"A private citizen came and said, 'That's the car that they were looking for for the break-ins,'" the old lawman said in typical police jargon about suspect vehicles. "This car took away..."

After the fugitive's futile escape attempt, "The city (police) handcuffed him and put him ind put him in the back of the car."

They used Blackwell's patrol car, apparently because he was driving back to the jail.

"Someway, he got his hands in front and then he got in the front seat," Blackwell continued. "With the blue lights on, he drove off.

"It was the late '90s. . . .Pick up a copy of today's edition, Wednesday, July 2, 2008 for entire story and photos.