Mark Marshall resigns

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Returning to Eastern Shore to open a brewery

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall is turning in his badge.

Marshall’s last day on the job is Feb. 28, and he is resigning his term nearly two years early to join the family business making beer on the Eastern Shore.

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Marshall’s staff was officially informed of his departure yesterday.

Marshall has served as sheriff since January 2012. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

As the top-ranking deputy, Major James Clarke will take over the sheriff’s job until the special election, pending his validation by the chief judge of the circuit court, Judge Carl E. Eason Jr., said Marshall.

Isle of Wight County Attorney Mark Popovich said the Board of Supervisors has up to 15 days after Marshall’s announcement to petition for a special election. Popovich said it’s likely the election will take place during the regular November election cycle because having one at another time is an added cost.

Marshall has served for 32 years in law enforcement, and at age 58, is eligible for state retirement. If he had remained on the job, his term was to end Dec. 31, 2019.

News of his plans to open a brewery with his family in Cape Charles leaked out last May. Currently, there are no other breweries on the Eastern Shore, and the $2 million project is being undertaken with private investors, family funds, loans and $500,000 from the state’s Industrial Revitalization Fund, said Marshall at that time. The brewery, which will start as a production brewery and progress to a brew pub and special events venue, has multiple phases and is expected to ultimately bring jobs and visitors to the area.

Marshall said he has fulfilled his promises from his first campaign in 2012, which included getting the agency accredited with the state. While running for a second term in 2016, Marshall promised to maintain those initiatives and practices, as well as prepare for a successor.

Marshall said he is proud of sending two deputies, for the first time in the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, to the FBI National Academy, of which Clarke was the first, followed by Lt. Julian Evans.

All lieutenants are scheduled to go as openings arise, said Marshall, adding that the Academy is part of his succession plan.

“In all of the organizations I have led, I have tried to implement a schedule of succession planning for all levels within the organization. At Smithfield, I was the first person to attend the FBI National Academy and during my tenure sponsored a number of officers to attend. Several today have become chiefs of police in other organizations,” Marshall said.

Marshall also praised his staff.

“Fortunately, we have a high performing team of committed folks who give it their all, day in and day out. They do the “heavy lifting,” and their sincere desire to help the community never ceases to amaze me. They are the true heroes of this story and my professional success has been built around their work,” Marshall said.

Marshall also took the lead on getting funding for a new E-911 radio system that will serve all first responders in the county, as well as the schools and public works departments.

“On a personal note, my exit is bittersweet. Smithfield and Isle of Wight has been our home ever since we landed here in the mid ’80s. Our children were raised in this community and we have many dear friends. We have been blessed in so many ways and our lives are that much richer because of this community. The passing of the torch is part of a natural progression for any organization. I have confidence that we have trained a cadre of well-qualified individuals who will now lead these organizations in an exemplary manner,” Marshall said.

Prior to serving as sheriff, Marshall was the police chief in the town of Smithfield for nearly 20 years and his law enforcement career spans more than three decades, to include the Virginia Marine Police.  

While in Smithfield, Marshall led the department in being accredited with the state, as well as serving as the president of the International Chiefs of Police. Marshall has also served in numerous leadership positions at a regional, statewide and national level.  {/mprestriction}