By Cara Pattison
A true public servant. A distinguished career. Honorable.
These are all words used over and again to describe Canadian County criminal investigator Lt. Mike Grimes at his retirement reception held at noon on Sunday, Jan. 16 in the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 601 Maple Ave.
After 57 years of working in law enforcement, Lt. Grimes has decided to turn in his full-time badge and gun for the third time, in exchange for the part-time retired life.
“It’s been an honor to serve people in the State of Oklahoma for 57 years. There was never a day I didn’t look forward to going to work. Not many people can say that!”
Grimes began his career in law enforcement in 1964 as a reserve police officer at the Yukon Police Department and reserve deputy sheriff for the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.
In 1969 he began working full-time in law enforcement as a deputy with the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office – where he was also a criminal field deputy.
In 1973 he was hired by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol where he worked for 33 years. There, he eventually rose to the rank of OHP deputy chief until he retired for the first time in 2006.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture immediately sought him out and recruited him to serve as the chief of their criminal investigations unit. He worked in that role until he retired for the second time in 2013.
BACK WHERE HE STARTED
Lt. Grimes always desired to end his career where he started – at the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office. So, after leaving the Department of Agriculture, he happily accepted an offer from the sheriff’s office to serve as a criminal investigator.
Over the course of eight years, he also established the aviation unit and managed the federal grant programs until his Dec. 21, 2021 retirement.
On Sunday, Lt. Grimes prepared a speech where he spoke fondly about his career and reflected upon his years in law enforcement.
“I want to say that everyone out there in law enforcement is serving and doing their jobs. I’m proud to have been a part of that. The best way to be successful is to be true to what you’re going to do, be honest and forthright, and remember that you serve the people every day.”
In addition to friends and family, there were a few honored guests there to celebrate Grimes’ career, including retired U.S. Marshall Mark Crawford, Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart, and Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward.
Undersheriff Ward showed-up to thank Lt. Grimes for helping him get a start in his successful law enforcement career 18 years ago.
“After he retired the first time, Mike continued selfless service,” Ward said. “The Department of Agriculture recruited him back into service to help law enforcement there in a time of need for expertise. Later, he came back to where he started. If you’re looking for a perfect public servant, Mike has exemplified that for almost six decades.”
And throughout the decades, Lt. Grimes has had his wife, longtime Yukon Public Schools’ educator Susie Grimes, by his side. When he initially told her he was thinking about retiring for the third time, she said she knew he’d continue working in the field he loves “in some capacity.”
“He said he was going to retire, and I said that I had already heard that twice and would believe it when I saw it,” Susie quipped after his retirement speech.
And Susie was right.
While having retired from full-time law enforcement status, Lt. Grimes will continue working at the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office in a non-law enforcement capacity on a part-time basis. There, he will manage the aviation unit, fly missions, and handle special projects.