Police fixture Ivan Barkley retires after 30 years


On Tuesday morning this week, the first day of retirement for Col. Ivan Barkley, he planned to watch a little TV.

Sleeping late wasn’t likely, since he’s been used to getting up early all his life, so Salisbury’s assistant police chief figured he would start projects around the house he’d been postponing for some time.

“I have a honey-do list that stretches clear across the room,” the 54-year-old Salisbury resident said, laughing, as he had lunch with co-workers Monday, the day that ended his 30-year career with the police department.

The day could best be described as “bittersweet.”

“It is indeed. I’ve got to figure out what to do with it. I’ll relax for a while, feel it out, then see what I’d like to do, see which way the wind is blowing,” he said.

Barkley, whose father died when he was 7 and who was raised by a single mother, started working for the police department when he was 24. Now, his son Ivan Barkley II is a state trooper in Salisbury and son Isiah Barkley is a Salisbury city police officer.

“I am extra proud of those boys. They do well,” he said.

He and his wife, Sandi, are also the parents of sons Irvin, of Northern Virginia; Isaac, an SU student who works at Peninsula Regional Medical Center; and Daiman, of Colorado Springs, who completed three tours of duty in Iraq.

More than anything, Barkley said he’ll miss his co-workers and the public.

“A lot of the people I have met really had an influence on my career,” he said.

Foremost on his mind was the late Walter Smullen, who worked in Public Works. Smullen, years ago, showed Barkley a collection of toys and goods he bought at an auction, and asked if Barkley knew of any children in need.

“Because of Walt, I started the Cops for Kids program that helps kids at Christmas, to take care of kids who don’t have as much as the privileged. We’ve been doing it more than 15 years. There were maybe three kids at first and now there are probably more than 100 kids,” he said.

He’s satisfied with the program’s success, and with his career.

“It’s all about interaction with the people,” he said.

“I’m really happy about the way it worked out. Sometimes when you’re young you wonder if your hopes will actually measure up to where you’ll actually be. At this point in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to sit with a president. I met President Obama when he was in Cambridge,” he said.

His mother, Patricia Lenoir of Princess Anne, is proud of him, he said, but he redirected praise to her.

“She raised us as a single parent and she did well,” he said.

Mayor Jim Ireton called Barkley “a fixture in this community since I was a young boy.”

“On behalf of our entire community, I congratulate him on a career that Salisbury is proud of,” the mayor said.

Barkley began as a patrol officer in July 1984 and was promoted, moving up the ranks as PFC, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant.

He has been a patrol officer, squad supervisor, squad commander and assistant operations commander.

He worked as a detective in the criminal investigation division and also in community affairs, computer systems and tactical team member.

He was on the Zero Tolerance squad and has been in community policing.

Barkley was acting police chief for a year before Chief Barbara Duncan was hired more than three years ago. Although he applied for the top position, he doesn’t regret not being chosen.

“Let me say this, because it doesn’t always get said. They made an excellent choice when they hired Chief Duncan,” he said.

“You would think being a police officer 25 years or more, you’d know just about everything but I learned a lot from her,” he said.

“I have nothing but respect for her.”

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