Marlon Stratton | A Home Grown Crime Fighter
Marlon Stratton is a local police chief with strong Southern Utah roots. He was raised in Hurricane and takes pride in protecting the community he’s lived in all his life.
Chief Stratton didn’t start out his adult career in law enforcement but had that influence from a young age. His uncle worked as a metro police officer in Las Vegas, and became a role model for what he wanted to do in his career.
“I really respected him a lot,” Chief Stratton said. “I just had a tendency to really enjoy emergency kinds of work.”
At 18-years-old, Marlon became certified as an Emergency Medical Technician, working for the original Washington County ambulance service. He described the experience as a thrill, and one he counts as a life building experience. It taught him hard work.
“There was no compensation,” Marlon recalled. “I paid for all of my training, and I bought my own uniforms.”
Chief Stratton continued his education working up the ranks in the EMT field becoming the president of the Color Country Emergency Medical Technicians Association. He thought his career in the emergency medical field was set, but routine interaction with police officers guided his life down a different path.
“I really didn’t think I’d leave emergency medicine,” Marlon said. “Because I really, really loved it.”
On the persuasion of several police officers, and remembering his childhood interest, he applied for an opening on the force. He’d only been on the job for three years before he was selected by the chief to head up hostage negotiations on the department’s newly formed SWAT team. He trained at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
“It was kind of interesting because I was just a little Hurricane boy,” Chief Stratton said. “I’d never flown before. I’m amazed I even made it.”
After rising through the ranks of Sergeant and Lieutenant, Chief Stratton said he was a bit surprised to be called by the St. George mayor and city council to become Interim chief over the department when former Chief Robert Flowers left the position.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Marlon said. “I was shocked. It’s a huge responsibility.”
The position became permanent in 2000.
Chief Stratton admits it’s a tough field to work in, and some of the tragedies he’s responded to over his 30 years on the force and as an EMT have stayed with him to this day.
The emotion can be seen in his eyes as he remembers responding to calls where friends and neighbors passed away and got seriously hurt. But he says he cherishes those experiences as opportunities to help the community he loves through those life-changing tragedies.
“We see people in their most difficult, private moments,” Marlon said. “And we’re able to help them. I love helping people.”
Chief Stratton recounts the story about a local man who sent him a message thanking him for the hard work one officer gave during a difficult time. The man had planned to kill himself, but through the interactions with an officer on the force, the man was able to find purpose, and went on to have a family of his own.
Beyond that help, Marlon says he does what he does to give the community the quality of life they’ve come to expect and deserve. Many are surprised when crime does happen in the area, and he takes pride in the fact it doesn’t happen very often.
“There aren’t places in St. George that are bad places that you don’t want to go,” Chief Stratton said. “It’s about the quality of life.”
He’s not sure how much longer he’ll keep up the crime fighting in an official capacity, but he said as long as there’s someone to help in Southern Utah he’ll offer his hand.