Two successful careers

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

in the short rows 

One of the great pleasures of managing a small town newspaper is working with local police. Over the years, the state troopers, Sheriff’s Office personnel in both Isle of Wight and Surry, as well as Smithfield police have worked closely with this newspaper to ensure that the residents of both counties know what is happening in their community.

There have been disagreements, a few of them serious, but by and large it has been a productive relationship, and still is.

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There have been a number of key players in law enforcement in both counties, but two stand. One retired last year and the other will leave a month from now. One will remain active in the community and the other will move to the Eastern Shore. Both have contributed mightily to law enforcement and both have been a pleasure for us to work with.

Steve Bowman had an extraordinary career that began as a state trooper and included time with the Smithfield Police Department, the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. His VMRC years included the prestigious appointment by two governors — one a Democrat, one a Republican — as commissioner of that agency. He left that job to come back to his hometown and serve as police chief. And now, in retirement, he serves on the Town Council.

Mark Marshall’s police career had similarities to Bowman’s. He began as an officer with the Marine Resources Commission and then came to Smithfield 30 years ago to serve under the late Claiborne Havens, who was then police chief. Marshall’s work here began as an undercover narcotics officer.

He succeeded Havens as police chief, an in that role focused on hiring and training people to do the job with or without him, and left the department as a fully accredited police agency.

When he moved to Isle of Wight after winning election as sheriff, he moved in the same direction, taking the department to accreditation and pushing deputies to obtain more training. In both town and county, he encouraged officers to attend the prestigious FBI Academy for local police officers.

Bowman and Marshall’s backgrounds have other common ties. Bowman grew up in Claremont and Marshall spent a significant amount of time with family on the Eastern Shore. Those early years near the water engendered in both men a love for the Chesapeake Bay, and their VMRC connection, although at very different times and levels, deepened their love of this great estuary and a desire to protect it.

Both men also have shared a very evident love for the community they served. That, plus their unwavering professionalism, served Smithfield and Isle of Wight well for more than three decades.

Steve stays on. Mark moves on, but both have left a lasting positive imprint on the communities they served during their years in law enforcement.

A correction

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and its importance to our nation and the world. In that column, I loosely — and quite incorrectly — referred to the current Virginia Capitol as “Jefferson’s Greek temple on the Hill.”

You never know who’s reading these things. Longtime reader Henry Doggett sent the column to his longtime friend, former Gov. George Allen. Governor Allen was gracious in his comments about the history lesson, but told Henry to be sure and pass along to me that “Greek temple” was incorrect.

It was indeed incorrect. Jefferson’s model for the Capitol, the Maison Carree (square house), is located in Nimes, France and is Roman, not Greek, in origin.

Jefferson collaborated with French architect Charles-Louis Clerisseau to design a Virginia Capitol based on the beautifully-proportioned. Clerisseau constructed a model which, at Jefferson’s instruction, substituted classical Ionic capitals(caps) on the building’s columns for the Maison Carree’s elaborate Corinthian capitals.

The completed model was shipped to Virginia and became the basis for the Capitol that now stands. The model remains on display, as far as I know, in the Capitol. It’s a priceless artifact from our history.

It’s always good to hear from Governor Allen, who has maintained friendships here in Smithfield throughout his career, and I thank him for pointing out an important historical error.