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Streetsboro -- Police Chief Roy Mosley III compared the work of Darla Beck, who is retiring as the city's administrative assistant to the police chief, to the character, "Radar" O'Reilly, from the TV sit-com "M*A*S*H."
"Like Radar O'Reilly, Darla always knew what needed to be done and when -- before ever being asked," Mosley said.
Richard A. Taiclet, who retired in 2010 after serving 6 1/2 years as the city's police chief, agreed with the assessment of Beck's work.
"Darla was intuitive and knew what we wanted," Taiclet said. "If there was something coming up or if somebody wanted some information, she'd say, 'Is this what you're going to need?'
"I'd say, 'Yeah,' -- and I didn't even ask for it," Taiclet said.
Beck was recognized at the Dec. 10 Streetsboro City Council meeting for her 31 years of service to the city -- four years as a police dispatcher and the last 27 years as administrative assistant to the police chief. Her last day in the office will be Dec. 28.
"This seemed like a good time to move on," she said. "I love the job here, but it's time for a new chapter."
Beck said she wants to spend more time with her grandchildren and expand her sewing skills, which includes working with her embroidery sewing machines.
Mosley said Sharon Gumm, a dispatcher who has worked for the department for 13 years, will be Beck's successor.
"She'll do a good job, too," Mosley said.
Mosley said Beck has been "a tremendous asset for our police department."
"Much of what her work entails is done behind the scenes, but it is essential to our daily operations," Mosley said. "With more than 31 years under her belt, she has acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge that is not easily replaced.
"I feel fortunate that I have been able to spend the last two years working closely with her as police chief," Mosley said. "Her compassion, commitment and caring have always shined through."
Beck, who grew up as Darla Black, is a Streetsboro resident. She was born in Pennsylvania, then moved with her family to Mantua and spent most of her young adult life in Ravenna, graduating from Ravenna High School. She earned a bachelor's degree at Kent State University, then spent five years as a first-grade teacher at Ravenna Christian Academy.
During that time, Beck became interested in police work and spent time listening to police scanners.
When Streetsboro offered a Civil Service test for police dispatchers, she took it and was hired.
"A dispatcher is always about public service," she said. "I just wanted to be as helpful as I could be -- a resource person."
Beck said working as an administrative assistant is more on the business side of the operation. Her duties include payroll reporting, handling purchasing lists for the finance department, ordering supplies, making appointments and being a liaison to other city departments.
She served under five Streetsboro police chiefs -- Jim Brown, Jack Janoch, Ron Schmid, Taiclet and Mosley.
"The things I'll miss the most are the people, the contacts and the routine," she said. "It's been my life for 31 years."
Beck has two grown sons -- Trey, who lives in Kent, and John, who resides in Streetsboro, and two grandchildren -- twins Max and Zoe, who are the children of Trey and who will turn 3 in January.
"Darla will be missed by all of us here," Mosley said. "But at the same time, we are all truly excited for Darla as she begins this new phase of her life."
"Darla was dedicated, personable and very efficient in getting tasks accomplished," Taiclet said. "She was a hard worker and a multi-tasker. I depended on her a lot.
"More than that, I'm glad I left before she did," Taiclet added. "I couldn't have found a replacement."