Sheriff’s Department’s Dobson retires
Well over 100 people gathered at the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce building last week to celebrate 35 years of dedicated service Lee County Sheriff’s Department’s Richard Dobson gave to the people of Florida.
“For the record, upon my retirement, I have been promoted to major,” Dobson said. “When I was a little kid, I didn’t think I would grow up to be a cop. My family was in the construction business and I began working with my father at a very young age. I bought my first car with the money I earned working with my dad on weekends.
“The reason I joined the police department, and it sounds corny, but I just didn’t like people doing the wrong things,” Dobson said. “I was a young guy and happened to be at a convenience store when a couple of guys came running out with a couple of cases of beer and it made me mad. I was in my early 20s so I chased them and grabbed one of them by the neck while he was in a car. I had to let go but I got the tag number and the police caught them. I realized I really enjoy this.”
After that experience, he decided to pursue a career on law enforcement.
“I started the Police Academy in 1974 in Miami,” Dobson said. “I spent 1974-1980 with the Miami Police Department. I started as a patrolman and then went into K9. I had the top dog in the state in 1980 and then moved up to K9 trainer with 30 dogs. After that, in 1980 we moved to the west coast.
“As soon as we moved here I joined the Lee County Sheriff’s Department part-time,” Dobson said. “I also went back into construction by starting a family business building swimming pools. We were doing very well until we hit a minor depression and I decided to close it up. I was working 13 hours a week with the Sheriff’s Department and that’s when I joined full-time.”
Dobson’s district was from Andalusia Boulevard in Cape Coral out to the islands of Captiva, Upper Captiva, Cayo Costa and Boca Grande.
“Of course, being assigned out on Pine Island, things are a little different,” Dobson said. “We don’t have the same kind of crime out here but what fills in are the people. I got involved with the chamber and got to meet the people. I don’t live here on the island but I consider this my community.
“Retirement for me will be about my 7-year-old daughter that I plan to spend lots of time with,” Dobson said. “I will take her to the bus stop in the morning, then I have 15 acres with four cows that are expecting, 14 chickens and I have all kinds of projects to keep me busy. I am in good health and I’m just looking forward to relaxing.
“I’ve spent 40 years in this business and it’s just time,” Dobson said. “And, I couldn’t have wished for a better person to take my place, than Capt. Matt Herterick. Matt will do an excellent job moving forward.”
Herterick lives in Cape Coral. Originally from Rhode Island, Herterick moved to Southwest Florida in 1996.
“Right after high school I joined the National Guard,” Herterick said. “I came to Southwest Florida in 1996 when my uncle moved part of his business here.
He then explained how he got involved with law enforcement.
“I’ve always had the feeling of wanting to help people,” Herterick said. “Prior to moving to Florida, I went to EMT (Emergency Medical Training) school so I knew I was headed in the general direction.”
In August 1999, Herterick was hired by the Sheriff’s Department.
“I started off as a patrol deputy answering 911 calls,” Herterick said. “From there an officer can choose where he wants to go: detectives, K9, etc. I went into monitoring sexual offenders and the sex crimes unit. Sex crimes is very challenging because the majority of these types of crimes are against children. After that I returned to patrol as a patrol supervisor and then on to detective sergeant. Two and a half years ago I became a lieutenant here on Pine Island.
“When Capt. Dobson decided to retire I was promoted to captain. My plan going forward is to carry the torch forward by following Maj. Dobson’s focus and mission. I am very happy that my district is Pine Island. The people of Pine Island are wonderful and supportive and here, people will actually come up to you and say thank you, you’re doing a great job. But that’s what Pine Island is all about I have been very fortunate.”