ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Lt. Jeff LaRoche with the Ohio State Highway Patrol has announced his retirement. He has been with the Highway Patrol for 29 years.
"I'm ready for a change in lifestyle," LaRoche said in regardless to his retirement. "(I have no plans) as of right now, I will probably do some work with my son (C.J.), he has LaRoche Tree Service. I'll probably work with him as needed."
LaRoche started his career with the Highway Patrol in Marietta when he was out of work from Eastern Plating in 1984.
According to LaRoche, his friend was applying to the academy and he decided to apply as well. He never grew up wanting to be a trooper but saw this as a job that provided security. His friend was not accepted due to his eye sight and LaRoche had to wait before he was admitted into the academy. Untill then, LaRoche served as a cadet dispatcher for the Marietta Post 84.
Upon graduating from the academy, he was appointed trooper in September, 1985 to the Wooster Post 85. LaRoche transferred to several different post before 2010 when he came back to St. Clairsville Post 7.
LaRoche states that his favorite part about being with the Highway Patrol is working with people.
"Between working with the people and actually making a difference. I enjoy working nightshift all the time we use to bust a lot of DUIs and those are times you actually think you're making a difference. We stop people a lot for speed but when you remove somebody that is impaired, that just seems to be more rewarding to remove an impaired driver," said LaRoche.
LaRoche states that one of his least favorite things was the next of kin notifications, when they would have to notify someone that a family member has been involved in a fatal crash.
"Even going through the academy, there were instructors that said that next of kin notifications are actually one of the things you will hate to do," said LaRoche. "But obviously it is one of the things you have to do and normally we make personal notification, we won't call people on the phone."
"That picks up more when you are in a supervisory role because you don't make as many as a trooper, usually it's the supervisior," LaRoche said.
Another thing LaRoche says he will not miss is being on call. Serving as Lieutenant in a post means that he is called out for fatal crashes and has his phone with 24/7. "I'm not going to miss the phone calls, I always called it being on the hook because we had state cell phones," said LaRoche. "Besides the next of kin, the responsibility for the people here and the responsibility to do my job that I am required to do, which leads into a cell phone."
When LaRoche started as a trooper, he never had any plans to become a lieutenant or a post commander.
"At first, I enjoyed being a trooper and I enjoyed doing a troopers job day in and day out and once I was promoted to Sergeant, it kina hit me that yeah I want to be post commander, which is basically what a lieutenant is."
One thing that LaRoche did try to do was stay close to home. LaRoche grew up and still lives in Bellaire with his wife Leigh Ann and their three children, C.J., Cory and Stephanie. He states that he tried to stay close to home and lives within 10 miles of his mother and four brothers. LaRoche often times communited to the post he worked at such as Steubenvill, Wooster and Cambridge and came back to St. Clairsville Post 7 whenever he was given the chance.
Van Dyne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.