Sgt. Denny Mickels, capping a career in law enforcement that spanned about 26 years, has hung up his gun and badge, and is embarking on the next phase of his life — court reporting.
"Yep, that’s what I’m going to do," Mickels said, at a going away party held this week at the Vilonia City Hall.
Tongue in cheek, stories regarding Mickels were shared by some of the 70 or so in attendance including friends and fellow officers. Pokes and puns were exchanged during the event.
Mickels was gifted with a sack of Daylight Donuts by member of the Vilonia Fire Department.
Jokingly, Chief Brad McNew told the audience he was glad that Mickels had decided to leave. He said he had been retired about nine years.
"I’m ready to quit paying him," he said, a smile on his face.
All, who spoke, described Mickels as a character with a sense of humor. A serious note, it was also said that Mickels knew his police business and was able to switch gears in a heartbeat.
Lt. Bob Berry of the Conway Police Department, who worked with Mickels for many years in Conway, shared a story where a rather large man, being hunted by federal marshals, was angered when he and Mickels "took him down."
"He didn’t want to be taken down by the local boys," Berry said.
Vilonia Mayor James Firestone was on hand and read a proclamation in recognition of Mickels’ service to Vilonia. He was also presented with a revolver, by McNew, engraved with his name and badge number on the side.
Mickels joined the Vilonia Police Department about 10 years ago. A part of his duties included serving as the resource officer in the Vilonia School District. In that capacity, he was well-known and a visible member with teachers and students.
Retired teacher Cathy French, in attendance, also spoke. In the school, she joked, he was known as the "energy Czar." It was his job, she said, in addition to safety to make sure lights were turned out. She said she had received tickets, similar to traffic violation tickets, from Mickels reminding her of her violations regarding leaving the lights on.
"Some of us wanted to flatten his tires," she joked, adding that he was really well-liked.
Prior to working in Vilonia, Mickels served on the Conway Police Department for about 11 years and in Fairfield Bay for about five years.
McNew said an officer has not been named to replace Mickels as school resource officer.