The North Canton Police Department has one fewer marksman, jokester and cop with an eye for catching the bad guy.
Lt. Ronald Steadman said goodbye to the department Tuesday at his retirement ceremony in North Canton City Hall, and dozens gathered around to see him off. The 37-year veteran is off to Florida with his wife Patricia to enjoy his time off.
What else is in store for him?
“A lot of motorcycle riding and golfing, and kind of relaxing until I get bored,” said Steadman, who joined the department in 1973 as an auxiliary officer.
He said he’s proud of his time in North Canton and was looked to as the officer who could find the criminal. That’s something the whole force appreciated about him, said City Administrator Michael Grimes, whose position as police chief ended Tuesday and position as city administrator started today.
“He’s the one who would catch them,” Grimes said. “He just had an eye for that.”
Not only was Steadman excellent in the field of law enforcement, but he has a great sense of humor, too, Grimes said. The lieutenant was known to answer his desk phone “Rocco’s Pizza” when he didn’t want to be disturbed. (Citizens never found that out because the dispatchers handling the phone calls always intercepted his.)
Co-workers even brought the retired lieutenant a Rocco’s Pizza box with a Rocco’s Pizza shirt tucked inside.
Grimes said it was clear to everyone at the department Steadman just liked to work.
“He’s from that generation that works,” Grimes said, adding it was common to call in Steadman to fill in a shift. “Even as a lieutenant, if we couldn’t get a patrolman to come in, he was the next call.”
Steadman ran the department's firearms training and headed its S.W.A.T. team.
“He’s a good shot, but he’s a good instructor, too,” Grimes said. “He’s one of those people who would tell you what you’re doing wrong and let you know how to fix it.”
Steadman, who wanted to be a police officer since he was about 9 years old, said he’s had so many great memories at the department, he wouldn’t know how to choose a career highlight.
It wasn’t difficult for him to choose one thing he’ll miss, though.
“All the guys, the camaraderie between all shifts, all the police officers.”
Steadman's retirement is the second for the North Canton Police Department this year.