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Murray County chief deputy retires

After 30 years in law enforcement, Chief Deputy Randy Donahue retired from the Murray County Sheriff’s Office Friday. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

SLAYTON — Chief Deputy Randy Donahue’s law enforcement career not only spans 30 years, but crosses state lines. As he served his last day at the Murray County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Donahue reflected on his career, what he’ll miss the most and what he’s looking forward to about retirement life.

“When I clock out at 4:30 p.m. Friday, my wife is picking me up, and we’re going on a weekend getaway, but she’s not telling me where,” Donahue explained. “This has been a trip in the making for about six years, but due to my busy career, we just never could do this.”

A Brewster native, Donahue received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Soon after, he began his law enforcement career in 1984 at the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office in Corsicana, Texas, as a deputy.

He then made his way back to the Midwest, working for the Humboldt, Iowa, Police Department, and then he and his wife, Lorna, made a drastic move to Las Vegas, where he worked for the Federal Protective Service.

“I loved Las Vegas. It was great sitting by the pool during Christmas time in 72-degree weather, but my wife just hated it,” Donahue said. “My wife is a small town farm girl out of Fulda, and Clark County has about 1.4 million people in it, so it was quite a shock for her.

“So, we packed up and headed home, and we actually started traveling back to the Midwest on 9-11, and we hit the $6- to $7-a-gallon diesel fuel on the way back, but we made it,” Donahue said. “Lorna took a job with the hospital in Worthington, when it was city-owned at the time, and I started with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office in 2002 as a dispatch personnel.”

Donahue was quickly moved up to deputy, and in 2007 he was promoted to chief deputy. Like many law enforcement officials, Donahue is part of the string of retirements following the recent Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) changes.

A change in Minnesota law involving the PERA froze the cost-of-living adjustment, then increased the penalty for retiring early. The penalties don’t take effect until July 1, but a person must be retired and drawing from their PERA for one month, therefore the last day one can retire is May 31.

“I have mixed feelings on the issue, I think the state will lose a lot of experience that they can’t just get back overnight,” Donahue said. “But it will be a great opportunity for those coming out of college, or those who are early in their career.”

“There haven’t really been many openings in law enforcement, so these new rules will change that,” he added.

Looking back on his career, Donahue said one of the things of which he is most proud is his work with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) in Minnesota.

“Even though I’m retired, I’m still going to try and stay active in ICAC, because I think it’s an important part of law enforcement, and I don’t want all of my training to go to waste,” Donahue said. “I also may explore the possibility of a teaching capacity to train new officers to do that (ICAC), because it is so important.”

Even though Donahue wants to explore the possibility of working part time in the sheriff’s office one day, he is looking forward to some parts of retirement and has already begun some projects.

“My wife and I sold our acreage, because my daughter, Emily, is off at college, and my son, Kyle, will be a senior next year at Fulda High School, so we bought a fixer-upper house in Fulda,” Donahue said. “I’m told that it used to be the old convenience store in Fulda.

“But I just want to tell people that fixing up these kinds of homes is not as easy or as fun as what you see on HGTV,” he laughed.

Donahue said what he’ll miss the most about working for the Murray County Sheriff’s Office is the people he worked with.

“Murray County has a lot to be proud of with the staff here,” he said. “Everyone here truly wants to help people, and they go above and beyond each and every day to do that.”

Donahue also credits his successful career to Sheriff Steve Telkamp.

“Again, I think the citizens of Murray County have a lot to be proud of with Sheriff Telkamp, he is a forward-thinking sheriff and keeps up on the latest trends and technology, which has made him great to work with.”

Even though Donahue is sad to leave the sheriff’s office, he is ready for the next chapter in his life.

“I just want to thank everyone at the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Telkamp and the citizens of Murray County,” he said.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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