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Salute the Badge: Meet Missoula County's undersheriff - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Salute the Badge: Meet Missoula County's undersheriff

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Missoula County Undersheriff Rich Maricelli (MTN News photo Missoula County Undersheriff Rich Maricelli (MTN News photo
FLORENCE -

Many law enforcement officers will tell you the profession is 'in their blood'. That's the case for new Missoula County Undersheriff Rich Maricelli.

He's a career law enforcement officer who took a little break from the badge but just couldn't stay away. When Maricelli was sworn in last month, it was a homecoming of sorts for the career detective.

Four years ago, he retired from the department to be the security officer at Neptune Aviation, but then, Sheriff TJ McDermott came calling.

"Usually the meeting or phone call always ended with 'so are you ready to come back?' And so that morphed into this final time," Maricelli said. "It was the only position that I would have even considered coming out of retirement for."

Maricelli and McDermott have a proven track record as leaders. President Obama recognized both men in 2011 as some of the nation's "Top Cops" for their work on a cold case murder.

Maricelli says he's never forgotten the sacrifice it can take to wear the badge.

"They put lives on the line many different times. They try and make the community safe. They're the ones running into a dangerous situation when everyone else is running away," Maricelli said. "Ultimately, the goal is to make it through your shift and get back to your family."

Family is a big deal to this father of six. He and his wife Jenn created a wonderful life in the Bitterroot Valley.

He is excited for an opportunity to make the community a safe place for all families by taking the Missoula County Sheriff's Office to the next level.

"It used to be the premier law enforcement department. My goal is to have it feel like that again, where everyone wants to go to work and is proud to be there -- and the community sees that and is like "wow", that is a very professional, very determined department and that's what I hope for," Maricelli concluded.

Maricelli is also known as a Boston Red Sox super fan and says there will be a little 'Sox' decor in his new office --  although maybe not as much as before!.

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