Since 1999, major Randy Dolphin has served with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. On June 13, family and friends celebrated his life of service to the Jefferson County community at the John R. Fallis Waterfront Building in Regional Park.
“It overfilled me with joy to see them come out on their own time to celebrate me embarking on a new journey in life,” said Dolphin. “I was also saddened by the fact of having to leave my second family at the sheriff’s office.”
In his more than two decades of being at the sheriff’s office, Dolphin has worked his way up the law enforcement ladder. He began as a patrol deputy assigned to the Uniformed Patrol Division in July 1999 after completing his assignment as a narcotics investigator assigned to the Central Arkansas Multi-Agency Enforcement Organization (C.A.M.E.O), operated by the Arkansas State Police. In 2007, Dolphin was promoted to the rank of sergeant and subsequently to the rank of lieutenant in 2010. Finally, in 2019, Dolphin was promoted to the rank of major and tasked with overseeing administrative support and enforcement operations for the sheriff’s office.
“Intelligence and qualifications are important in leadership and have there place in law enforcement, but the value of experience cannot be ignored either,” said Woods. “Major Dolphin’s departure by way of retirement creates a void that I believe all members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office find difficult to fill. His absence means that our agency loses nearly two decades of experience and leadership.”
He was appointed to his most recent role when Lafayette Woods, Jr. was elected as sheriff 2018 leaving his position of major of operations vacant. Woods and Dolphin met in 2000 when Woods was a student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. According to Woods, Dolphin was one of his inspirations for getting into the law enforcement field.
“The one thing that will remain with me through my tenure at the sheriff’s office is the advice major Dolphin once gave me when I was just a rookie trying to find my way,” Woods said. “Major Dolphin advised me to always treat others how I wanted to be treated— fair and consistent. It was also important for him to ensure that subordinates were taken good care of as he recognized that they are the backbone of the agency.”
Due to medical reasons, Dolphin decided to retire earlier than normal. He adds that it was a choice that didn’t come easy.
“It’s going to take some time for me to adjust to the reality that I’ve had to leave when I wasn’t ready to retire but forced due to my medical condition,” he said. “I’ll miss my co-workers the most. I really love them like family, because that’s how I viewed them all— as family.”
Lieutenant Christopher Grider met Dolphin back in 2016 in the patrol division. It was there that a lifelong friendship was cultivated.
“Major Dolphin has been the true definition of a leader the whole time I have known him and he cares about each one of his deputies on and off the job,” said Grider. “He has always been there for me regardless of the situation and that meant a lot because this job is difficult at times and can be even more difficult if you don’t have a go-to person. But, major Dolphin has not only been my go-to guy, but also the go-to guy for many others.”
Seen as a calm yet hard-working public servant, those closest to Dolphin say his departure leaves big shoes for the sheriff’s office to fill.
“He will be missed dearly,” said retired lieutenant Dorothy “Dot” Rowland. “I enjoyed the back and forth in the mornings with Randall as I called him and him calling me Dorothy instead of Dot. He has a beautiful smile and he’s very easy to work with and understand. I will always remember major Randy Dolphin for his honesty and structure in the department.”
During the retirement party, Dolphin encouraged members of the sheriff’s office to continue to work for the betterment of the community. He reflected on some of his fond memories while offering advice to his colleagues.
“Continue doing the good job that you have been doing and treating the people you come in contact with as you would want to be treated or how you’d want your family members to be treated.”