DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — A longtime central Ohio law enforcement officer is calling it a career.

Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin will retire officially on Monday after serving in the position for 11 years. Martin’s retirement bookends a more than 40-year career in law enforcement.

“It’s happened in a blink, and that’s the way life goes, but I can’t tell you how grateful and blessed I have been to be a part of it,” Martin said.

Over the years, his time has gone toward responding to calls, investigating, and doing police work. Some of those memories are captured in photographs he has in his office.

“As much as I’ve enjoyed being a chief and a sheriff, I think I’m just a cop at heart,” Martin said. “My fondest memories are responding to the radio and being a first responder.”

Martin was an emergency dispatcher while in college. He became a police officer in the city of Delaware, and then later become Delaware’s police chief for eight years. In 2012, he was appointed sheriff after the previous sheriff resigned.

“I can remember 40 years ago when I came here, this was a rural county, and now it’s a thriving suburban and extended metropolitan area from Columbus,” Martin said. “Obviously, what else has come along with it sometimes is in an increase in crime, and we’ve seen that unfortunately stretch really from Columbus to the suburbs.”

Under his leadership, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) added body cameras and restored its cold case unit. Martin is retiring before his term ends to spend more time with family, he said.

“This is the next chapter,” he told NBC4 as he held one of his granddaughters.

Martin also plans to work with some nonprofits.

“My wife reminds me periodically I’ve got to say no first, but I really want to be involved, it’s a great place to grow up, raise a family, go to church, and I want to do everything I can to continue to help central Ohio,” Martin said.

Delaware County Commissioners are scheduled to appoint an acting sheriff Monday, and then the Delaware County Central Committee has 45 days to select Martin’s successor. His successor will serve the rest of Martin’s term until it ends Dec. 31, 2024.