Chief Marchand retiring

Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand is set to retire in June after serving the Gate City area for more than three decades.

POCATELLO — After what will be seven years at the helm of Pocatello’s police department, Chief Scott Marchand is set to retire this summer.

Thirty-five years into his law enforcement career, the top cop for the Gate City community of roughly 55,000 residents said he’s decided it’s time to pass the torch.

“I don’t know that I’ll miss the job much, but I’ll certainly miss the people I’ve worked with,” Marchand said.

“I’ve worked with some great policemen over the years — some of them are still around, some of them are gone and others are gone forever. But I was blessed to work with some of the best. We have great, great policemen here and it’s been a pleasure.”

Marchand got his start in law enforcement in the summer of 1984 with the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office. As a student athlete attending Idaho State University and playing football, someday becoming Pocatello’s police chief was no lifelong dream for Marchand.

In fact, becoming a police officer was never on Marchand’s radar. That changed, however, when former Bannock County Sheriff S.R. Gameson approached him with an an offer to become a narcotics enforcement officer. Gameson was a friend of Marchand’s father, who was a city employee in streets and sanitation for over four decades.

Two years as a sheriff’s deputy was followed by five years as a patrolman with the Pocatello Police Department. From there, Marchand spent nearly a decade as a detective, about a dozen years split between a sergeant and a lieutenant and by the date of his retirement on June 17 he will have spent seven years as the chief.

“There’s tons of good and bad that’s happened in this career, I don’t think I could single-out any one particular day,” Marchand said when asked about his best and worst days on the job. “Anything that involved injury or death of children was always rough. Those were the tough days.”

Marchand’s imminent departure from his post is one retirement that Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said he was not looking forward to.

“Scott has been a wonderful police officer for the city for over three decades,” Blad said. “He’s been a solid, dedicated employee who has shown an amazing love for this community. He will definitely be tough to replace.”

While it’s difficult for him to pinpoint particular days or incidents that have resonated with him since his career began, Marchand admits the job of a police officer has changed significantly over the years. It’s not just the equipment used by officers, but the relationships between law enforcement and the media that have changed the most, Marchand said.

“From the time I started with the equipment we were using then compared to the equipment we have now, the technology is one million times better,” Marchand said. “We’ve always had great community support but one thing that has changed over the years is the media.”

Marchand continued, “In my opinion the media tends to dwell on the bad and they continue to keep those stories rolling over and over again, which creates unrest and that makes the job tough.”

There are many people who love policemen and many people who hate them, Marchand added. Marchand says he won’t be losing any sleep at night over the future of the Pocatello Police Department.

“I’ve said this a million times to a hundred people or more: ‘I sleep good at night. Every night I go to bed I sleep well,’” Marchand said. “And that’s because I have the utmost faith and belief in the people who work in this department. I know they are keeping us safe and doing their jobs, and I hope everybody else sleeps well knowing our guys and girls are out there every night.”

Pocatello is currently accepting applications for Marchand’s replacement. More information about the position is available by visiting {a target=”_blank” href=””}{/a}

Both Blad and Marchand said they expect the department will hire the next full-time chief without naming an interim, something that hasn’t happened with the position in recent history. Marchand said he has no plans to endorse any applicants for the position.

“We will find the next chief without an interim because we have time to get the position application out, and time to conduct our interviews,” Blad said. “Marchand has given us that time, which is just another testament to him.”

Blad added, “I can assure you that I’m not going to hire somebody just to hire them. I’m not going to hire the next chief with concerns they may not work out. Whoever he or she may be will be the person who I have all the confidence in the world in.”

Moving forward, Marchand said he plans to spend much more time out in the Idaho countryside, fishing, hunting and relaxing — both by himself and with his grandson.

And though his days of being the top cop in Pocatello are numbered, Marchand said he isn’t going anywhere.

“Really, I’ve had lots of things to worry about as the chief and once I retire I’m not going to worry about them anymore,” Marchand said. “But I am still going to be a big part of this community and do what I can to make it a better place. I don’t plan on going anywhere. I’m just going to spend some more time out on the river.”

{span}Reporter Shelbie Harris can be reached at 208-239-3525. Follow him on Twitter: @shelbietharris.{/span}