JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Officer Russ Manning spent 27 years with the Jonesboro Police Department working as a bailiff, evidence officer and patrolling the streets with his K-9 partners, Max and Rocky.
But, his assignment at Nettleton STEAM 15 years ago is what truly shaped his career.
“It’s surreal and it goes by quick,” Manning said.
Manning finished the academy and started his work as an officer in January 1983 with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. His wife, who is a Jonesboro native, was a fairly new mother and wanted to move back home to be closer to family.
The pair picked up and moved to Northeast Arkansas and Manning started working for the Jonesboro Police Department in February 1993.
On Thursday, he signed off for the last time.
But, there was one last thing.
Detective Mallory Manning-Britton, who so happens to be his daughter, traveled from the West Memphis Police Department to complete his last call.
“You’re considered a mentor, a friend and a role model. Officer Russ Manning 45, showing you 10-7, We’ll take it from here. I love you.”
His daughter making the road to retirement even sweeter.
But, he didn’t get to that point without hard work and making some cute little friends at Nettleton Steam.
“People say you know when it’s time to go. I knew it was time to go from the police department, but it’s hard to let go here," Manning said.
He spent the latter half of his career inside these halls becoming a friend to those who needed it the most.
When he originally put in his request for retirement, he knew he would be spending that last day with his students. However, due to COVID-19, students have not been inside the building since March.
“It’s empty, it’s an empty feeling," Manning said.
Their presence is what truly made his job and the last day was just not the same.
“There’s not a better sound than hearing their laughter, when they are on the playground or in the lunchroom," Manning said.
As far as what he’s going to do with some of his free time; he’s counting the days until baseball returns.
“I’m a Chicago Cub fanatic. Love the Cubs. Cardinal Hater," Manning said.
But, one thing for sure, there’s no hate for the years spent serving and protecting, especially those who couldn’t do it for themselves.
“This is my calling. Maybe it sounds silly. But, I truly believe it," Manning said.
Although Thursday was his last day on the force, there is some good news.
Officer Manning will be returning to Nettleton STEAM same school this fall as a private armed security officer.
He says he can’t wait to see his Raiders again.