CIRCLEVILLE — After 45 years, it was time to hang up the badge for one officer in the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Tim Carpenter retires next week after serving in several different roles, including being the first partner in the crime lab with then-deputy Robert Radcliff, who today is the sheriff.
“You’re not going to find a more straight arrow with a quiet demeanor,” Radcliff said. “He’s never going to do anything improper. He’s the epitome of a fine example for people and other deputies to follow.”
Carpenter graduated from College on June 9, 1974, and the next day started at the Sheriff’s Office in the radio room.
Carpenter had worked for a farmer during high school, and was present during a conversation between that farmer and his son about the son’s future opportunities, such as going to college and getting a degree in police science. The father said the Circleville Police would hire him straight to the street with that education.
“Thats what I was looking at, or so I thought,” he said.
However, his family had slightly different plans.
“My grandparents worked for the county, my grandmother worked at the courthouse, my grandfather worked in the engineer’s office, and I had an uncle that was a county commissioner. All of them kind of steered me toward the county and to try to get a job with [the sheriff then,] Dwight Radcliff,” he said. “It’s been a pretty stable job since then.”
Carpenter, in addition to being a dispatcher, has worked in the jail, the crime lab, returned to the jail and then took to the streets where the majority of his time has been spent as a road deputy.
He remembers well his first patrol car, a station wagon.
“Sgt. Bill Dountz drove a station wagon and he became ill and went to the hospital. I inherited his cruiser when I first went on the street,” he said. “I don’t remember the year, but it was an old Chevrolet station wagon. It was a big car.”
I once locked the keys in it and one of the windows was cracked down a little bit for air.
We didn’t have screens in the window then so I asked a small child to crawl through the window and get my keys for me at the IGA in Ashville.”
Carpenter said every day is different, which is what has kept him in the job.
“It’s pretty interesting work, as far as the calls we get,” he said. “I like serving Pickaway County. There’s not a day-to-day grind. I’ve always said it’s anything from homicide to a barking dog.”
Carpenter said he isn’t sure what he is going to do next.
“I’m going to do some R&R for a little bit,” he said. “We stay a little bit busy with our grandchildren. My wife and I are going to take a vacation here soon.”
Radcliff recalls a story from the early 1980s when he and Carpenter snuck out of the office, then on Franklin Street, and took the crime van trying to avoid the Columbus news media that were trying to follow them to a crime scene.
“The Columbus stations were here watching us and we didn’t want them to know where the scene was before we had a chance to process it,” he said. “We snuck out the back door where the kitchen was and went through the back, got into the alley, and out before they saw it.”