ST. GEORGE — After 34 years of service to the citizens of St. George as the chief of police, Marlon Stratton recently announced that he will be retiring from his post Sept. 27.
“After 34 years with the department and nearly 18 years as police chief, I have decided it is the right time for me to retire,” Stratton said in an press statement. “I look forward to spending more time with my family and enjoying the next chapter in my life.”
Stratton began his career as a patrol officer with the St. George Police Department in 1984, was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant and later, lieutenant. In 1987 he was sent to the FBI Academy in Stafford, Virginia, where he trained as a crisis negotiation and suicide prevention expert.
In 2000, former St. George Police Chief Robert Flowers accepted a position with the state of Utah as the Commissioner of Public Safety, and Stratton was appointed as the interim police chief. Two months later he was appointed to the position full time.
In his 18 years as chief, Stratton has been an advocate of community-oriented policing by encouraging officers work directly with citizens and businesses to address issues and challenges in specific parts of the city.
“Crime isn’t just a police issue,” Stratton said, “it takes the entire community working together to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy and expect in St. George.”
St. George City Councilor Michele Randall, who serves as the council liaison with the police department, said that good police work is critical when it comes to the quality of life in Southern Utah.
“All of the things we love about St. George like the trails, parks, events and outdoor recreation opportunities lose their significance if people don’t feel safe,” Randall said in the statement. “Chief Stratton has always exemplified this philosophy by the way he leads the department.”
As chief, Stratton has been at the forefront of ensuring that the services offered by the police department kept pace with the needs of the rapidly growing community.
Under his leadership, the department has seen significant growth and technological advances in the 911 St. George Emergency Communications Center, increased the number of school resource officers to area schools, added more watch commanders to supervise shifts and provide additional resources, created the Victim Services Unit to assist victims of crimes, elevated fitness standards for sworn officers, expanded and modified the drug task force to adjust to the changing needs of the community and diligently ensured that every officer has the equipment and training to perform their duty.
“We are so proud of our police department and the professional and exemplary manner in which our officers conduct themselves daily, even in the most difficult of situations,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “Chief Stratton will be greatly missed but he leaves us with a well-trained and highly skilled group of individuals to move confidently forward and that speaks volumes about him as a leader.”
Pike has proposed that Deputy Chief Richard Farnsworth be appointed as the next chief of police. It is anticipated that the city council will consider this appointment in a meeting in August.
“The decision of the mayor and city council to consider Deputy Chief Farnsworth to replace Chief Stratton has my full endorsement,” City Manager Adam Lenhard said.