Maj. Michael Monahan retires
By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Back in 1975, Michael Monahan first stepped into the world of law enforcement when he became a deputy at the St. Lucie County jail.
Now, 37 years later, he retires with the rank of major, having taken on a variety of responsibilities, such as on road patrol, in the drug special investigations unit and criminal investigations.
"I had a couple of friends who worked at the sheriff's office," Maj. Monahan said of the beginning of his career. "I took an interest, and started out on a part-time basis. It just got better and better from there."
He was born and raised in Fort Pierce and remembers how different law enforcement was in the late '70s.
"The old jail was on 2nd Street in downtown Fort Pierce, and the sheriff's office has about 70 employees," he said. "Back then, Fort Pierce was larger than Port St. Lucie. Very few people lived there, and there was no police department. Two deputies a shift worked in Port St. Lucie."
But it wasn't just the population that was different.
"We worked on manual typewriters, and the 'new' technology was walkie-talkies we used when we weren't in our patrol cars," he said. "Now, we have cell phones and all the cars have computers that can generate reports from a laptop."
He was honored with a retirement luncheon at the Fort Pierce River Walk Center on Aug. 31.
"(The Riverwalk Center) was overflowing," Mr. Monahan said. "The place was packed with people from every local agency. It was way beyond anything I could have imagined."
Of his years of service, his time in the 1980s with the drug unit stands out.
"It was in the heyday of the marijuana and cocaine smuggling," he said. "It was pretty exciting to be a deputy then."
He also looks back at his chance to mentor incoming law enforcement deputies, and hopes his advice helps future deputies.
"I would tell them that if they didn't have higher education, to work on it while they're young," he said. "To use their safety skills and have empathy and sympathy for people. Treat everyone with dignity and respect."
"Maj. Monahan served the people of St. Lucie County with honor and creativity," said Ken Mascara, sheriff of St. Lucie County.
"He commanded the respect of everyone at the sheriff's office and all other agencies he worked with. We will miss his dedication, leadership and sense of duty."
While there were individual people who Mr. Monahan credits with mentoring him throughout the years, it's the men and women who currently work at the sheriff's office that he wanted to thank.
"They do their job every day with gusto," he said. "They really care about the people in the county."
Looking back over all of it, Maj. Monahan said a career like this can be accomplished by anyone with hard work and dedication, and he enjoyed every minute of it.
"I started out as a jail employee, and left as third in command," he said. "If you work hard, it's there."