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Robinson serves Great Bend community for 38 years; will retire this summer
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Capt. Bob Robinson, who has served Great Bend for almost four decades, will retire this summer.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of an ongoing series of articles about local law-enforcement officers.
After 38 years at the Great Bend Police Department, Bob Robinson can tell story after story after story. But there are certain occasions that always reinforce his decision to become a police officer.
“I am always happy when we can quickly locate a missing child who hasn’t been harmed,” Capt. Robinson said. “One time a mother couldn’t find her young son. Come to find out, he had been in a little trouble with mom that day; he hid behind the couch and fell asleep.
“It is also a nice feeling when you help find an older person who walked away from home,” he added. “These are just a couple of circumstances that make me glad I’m a police officer. There is nothing like seeing the relief on a family member’s face.”
Robinson’s law-enforcement stories will wrap up this summer when he retires after serving here as a patrolman, sergeant and now captain. He was also a patrolman and sergeant at the Iola Police Department.
Robinson, 68, acknowledged he was concerned after he came to Great Bend in 1978 because two police chiefs left in pretty short order.
“It made me wonder about stability for me and my family,” Robinson said. “But then Sid Hughes was here for many years and then Dean Akings for even more years. They were stabilizing forces.”
Many officers remember when they first thought of getting into law enforcement, and Robinson is no exception. He was in the Army, which was encouraging Vietnam vets to consider the profession.
“The theory was, with all that was going on in the country at the time, we would be a good fit for the job,” Robinson said, citing civil unrest in the sixties. “This got me to thinking.”
He served his country for three years, including time in air assault units. He retired as an SPC 5.
Robinson uses his experience to counsel young officers when he has the chance. “The first thing I say is stay out of trouble. Do what you have been trained to do and continue your education. I would be highly aggressive with getting all the training possible.
“Then I suggest they ask themselves what they want to be in 10 years and start preparing for it,” he added.
Like most other professions, law enforcement has seen a dramatic increase in technology with no end in sight. This includes high-tech 911 centers, squad-car computers and cameras, texts, e-mail and voice mail.
“Technology has just exploded,” Robinson commented. “Smart phones are even playing a big role. For example, during severe weather we can look at the radar and see the storm moving.”
The GBPD has had cameras in cars for several years, dash cams for about 10 years, and body armor and body cameras for a few years.
“We had all this before the national controversies in recent years,” Robinson said. “We have a good city council that understands our needs.
“We had Tasers even in the early days,” the captain elaborated. “They are the best tools because they decrease the number of assaults and batteries. People know we have them, which means we can control situations better. We can incapacitate without causing long-term harm.”
The only bit of technology Robinson could live without is social media. “I see it as a negative,” he said. “People use it just to bash somebody even though they have never done this job.”
The captain did note that detectives use social media as a tool in solving some crimes. “Maybe there are some other good aspects but maybe I am just old school.”
Since Robinson concentrates on administrative duties, he is well aware that it is difficult to even get applicants for the jobs today.
“We can compete with salaries and benefits but there are a lot of negative things going on in the country about the criminal justice system,” he noted. “But we are different than metro areas. It goes back to being part of the community.
“The people we come in contact with could be our neighbors or someone I coached in baseball. They could be victims or suspects. The difference is that we care.“
Also, there is a wider variety of positions today, such as 911 dispatchers, and jobs in juvenile justice and community corrections.
It is easy to see that Robinson will miss the job and his co-workers who are “dedicated to the profession. But there comes a time when the old guys need to step aside. I have enjoyed my career. I got banged up a time or two but I have had strong support from my family.
“There are times you need to leave work at work, and they understand,” he explained. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Robinson family understands better than most.
The captain’s son, Mike, is an officer who was shot in the leg during a routine traffic stop while working for the Hutchinson Police Department. He recovered and is now with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Robinson is a native of Allen County. He and his wife, Barbara, have three other sons – Mark, Matt and Jeremy.
“Barbara was a 911 dispatcher in Anderson County so she knew what she was getting into,” Robinson laughed. “Our kids grew up in a law-enforcement environment. You just take it all in after a while.”