Yant retires after 21 years with the MPD

Photo by Deb Gau Tim Tomasek presented Marshall Public Safety Director Rob Yant, at left, with the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Service Award on Friday evening during a retirement reception for Yant. Yant has led the Marshall Police Department for 21 years.

MARSHALL — By itself, the code that went out over the Lyon County dispatch didn’t mean anything unusual. But on Friday afternoon, the 10-7 code — the signal that an officer is going out of service — took on a special meaning. It marked Marshall Public Safety Director Rob Yant’s final shift, as he retires after a 43-year career in law enforcement.

A reception was held in recognition of Yant on Friday. Yant has served as public safety director since 1997.

“Rob has really been part of the fabric of the Marshall community for 21 years,” said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes. Byrnes thanked Yant for his service.

Marshall Police Sgt. Tim Tomasek said he believed Yant had the longest tenure of any Marshall police chief. During that time, he said, Yant’s leadership has made a difference. “Your police department is one of the most professional, well-trained and community minded police departments around,” Tomasek said.

“I really want to thank everyone for coming tonight,” Yant told people gathered at the Minnesota Emergency Response and Industrial Training (MERIT) Center. “It really means a lot to have you here.”

Some of the people gathered at the reception traveled a long way to wish Yant well. Ron King came to Marshall from Muscatine, Iowa, where Yant first became a city police officer in 1975. King was a police lieutenant when Yant joined the department.

“He worked his way up to the rank of captain,” King said. Besides working together, King said, he and Yant “got to be good friends.”

Other visitors at the reception included members of state emergency management agencies Yant has worked with through his career. Yant played key roles in establishing the area Chemical Assessment Team, which responds to incidents with hazardous materials, and in getting the MERIT Center built in Marshall.

The MERIT Center has become an important regional resource for training law enforcement and emergency responders, Yant said.

“It’s something we need to appreciate,” he said.

Yant said he and his wife Karen’s future plans include eventually moving back to Iowa, where they can be closer to family. However, he said it won’t be easy leaving Marshall.

“It’s tough, because we’ve got so many friends here, and I really like Marshall,” he said.