Mark Sain completed a 25-year vocation in electrical wiring before opting to head for a “thin blue line” career, celebrating his retirement from the criminal justice field the end of this month.
Officers with the Lincolnton Police Department gathered to honor one of their own Tuesday afternoon during a special retirement ceremony for Sain at the East Main Street station.
Prior to donning a badge and navy blue uniform — both evidence of his decision to serve and protect area citizens — Sain repaired power lines around the city.
His career commenced in 1989, and he slowly climbed the work ladder to a line supervisor position before reaching the rank of electrical line superintendent.
While he carried out his duties with little complaint, his heart continued to pull him in a different direction.
Because he had always desired to be a police officer, he researched the field, and found it maintained an appealing retirement package.
“The retirement was more attractive on the police side than the public works side,” Sain said.
While some proved skeptical of his decision, the Lincolnton native — and Lincolnton High School graduate — eventually enrolled in police academy at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory.
“There were some who didn’t understand why I did it,” Sain said, “but I’m glad I did…It fulfilled something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Following graduation from the school’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program, Sain received a part-time position with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Tim Daugherty.
Not only did he work as a reserve officer, filling in on patrol shifts when necessary, but also policed portions of Lake Norman on a lake patrol shift.
He later transitioned into the county department’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID), he said, before switching law enforcement agencies altogether, moving to the Lincolnton Police Department in 2008.
Sain’s wife, Cindy, also filled a station role, heading the department’s Records Division.
During his time with the city agency, he worked two years as a detective with CID, a period he considered his most “enjoyable” time in policing.
He noted how he was thankful to experience limited outlandish investigations and run-ins with suspects during his brief law enforcement life, always striving to treat others how he would like to be treated.
“It was a pretty normal career for me,” Sain said.
He hopes those fellow officers who continue to serve after his retirement will remain vigilant and fair on the streets. He even offered them a simple message.
“Be safe and careful,” Sain said.
Following his last official day with the Lincolnton Police Department on Friday, he looks forward to spending his retirement days fishing and golfing, not failing to forget the impact that both of his careers have had on him.
“It’s been a privilege and an honor to work…and serve the citizens of the county and city of Lincolnton,” Sain said.