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Deputy Chief Probation Officer Rusty Rasberry Retires After 27 Years of Service

In 1989, Rusty Rasberry became the youngest federal probation officer in the Northern District of Mississippi to this day. At the end of the month, after 27 years of service, Rasberry retired as the deputy chief of the Northern District of Mississippi. 

Rasberry was born and raised all across the state of Mississippi, after moving several times due to his father’s work as a minister. Upon graduating high school, Rasberry attended Mississippi State and received his degree in business and a master’s in education. Always having an interest in law enforcement, his profession allowed him to make a difference in peoples’ lives. 

“Working as a probation officer allowed me to combine my interest in law enforcement, and my master’s degree in counseling,” Rasberry said. “Good people make mistakes just like anyone else, so this gives us a chance to help people get their lives back together. If a person wants to change and do right, I do everything I can to help them. In some cases [probation officers] are the only positive influence some people have, and we treat everyone with respect and dignity because we truly do have their best interests at heart.”

Rasberry has worked on countless cases since beginning in 1989, but he always ensured that he would give each case the personal attention they deserved. With the advancement of technology since he first began, Rasberry has seen that it’s much easier nowadays to be there for people. 

“The cases that stick in your heart more are the people that you really made a difference for,” Raspberry said. “I remember one guy who went through treatment right after he was arrested, and even though he had to go to prison, he was able to turn his life around, and there are still those who call me to check in every few months. It’s extremely rewarding to hear when someone is able to get a good job, get married and rebuild their lives, and that’s why I got into this profession. If someone has a problem at any moment, they don’t have to wait until the morning, they can text or call me at any moment, and I can do my part to help them.”

In addition to his career, Raspberry has also dedicated himself to a life of community service. Before his children were born, he was a volunteer firefighter and since 1990, Rasberry has been a volunteer police officer for OPD. He has also worked with the Boy Scouts of America, and the Lafayette County Emergency Medical Responders Unit. Working in the community has always been important to Rasberry and has also been a way to positively influence younger children. 

“I can’t expect someone to do something that I’m not willing to do myself, and for the community to be better, everyone has to do their part. If I was hurt or my house was on fire, I’d want someone to help me, and so I wanted to be there for others,” Rasberry said. “With the Boy Scouts, selfishly, it may have been a way to spend more time with my kids, but it also allowed me to give advice to kids at the age of 12 in the hope that they make decisions later in life so I may not have to deal with them professionally when they were 25.”  

Rasberry’s retirement ceremony was standing room only, an honor that he truly appreciated. 

“It was very touching to feel that you’ve made a contribution and that so many people would take time out of their day to show up for that really meant a lot,” Rasberry said. “This job has never been a 40 hour a week job, and when you put that extra time in, that’s time that your not spending with your family. To be honored like that solidifies that what you did really meant something to the community.” 

Rasberry will finish out the month of December before his retirement from his career as a probation officer; you won’t find him on a beach or the golf course just yet. Rasberry has accepted a position with OPD to become a full-time officer in the code enforcement division. 

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve this community, and I’m going to keep on working, and hopefully enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed this,” Rasberry said. 

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com.

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