MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — It takes a special kind of person to be in law enforcement, but to work 46 years with the same agency is a different level of dedication.

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” said Ronald Collins of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. “Every time I saw a patrol car, or an officer, I looked at them and, you know, I said, that’s what I wanna be. And I always thought it stood for something. And, and it still does.”

Collins started as a deputy and worked his way up to lieutenant. He also retired at one point, but that only lasted a few months.

“I missed it,” he said. “It’s like you had a hole in your life. There was no purpose, and I had to come back, you know. I mean, this is all I ever wanted to do and I love it.”

At the time of the interview for this story, Collins was working security in family court, serving probate pickup orders, leading funeral escorts and doing transports.

However, his official title recently changed.

“Well, I guess I can say this; I’ve been promoted to sergeant, and I’m just waiting for the sheriff to hand me my stripes,” Collins said.

It’s safe to say that when you’ve been on the job for more than four decades, certain incidents can stay in the back of your mind forever.

“Three years on the job, I was involved in a major shootout at a hospital in the city of Marion,” Collin said. “And that was probably, I’d say one of the most dramatic times, you know, and I can remember it like it was yesterday.”

However, the positive moments outweigh the bad, he said. One of those positives is his son, who has followed in his law-enforcement footsteps.

“He’s an investigator with Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and that was really rewarding,” Collin said. “He told me that ‘I want to get in law enforcement because I’ve always admired what you do.’ I dwell on that a good bit and I brag on him a lot.”

Collins also understands that being in law is a calling.

“The world we live in today, I think this job really means something, and it stands for something, and you just gotta have people that are going to speak for the people.”

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Melissa Meyers is a weekday morning anchor at News13. She’s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Melissa moved to Myrtle Beach to work for News13 after graduating from Kent State University. Follow Melissa on Twitter and read more of her work here.