After 26 years in county, Munsee retires from state police
By Rodney L. Sherman, Clarion News Editor / http://www2.theclarionnews.com
After 27 years on the force and 26 years in Clarion County , state police Cpl. Rex Munsee will retire from active duty Feb. 13. “Clarion County has always reminded me of where I grew up — in the country, no big cities, woods to hunt in and space to roam,” said Munsee of spending his career here.
CLARION – State police Cpl. Rex Munsee wouldn’t mind a slow day at the office tomorrow, Feb. 13 – a Friday the 13th at that.
After 27 years and seven months of service, the veteran trooper will work his last shift tomorrow and then retire from the state police force.
Munsee, a Limestone area resident, was sworn in as a state police trooper July 20, 1981 , and was assigned to the Shippenville barracks on Dec. 11, 1981 .
Of his more than 27 years of service, Munsee spent more than 26 of those years at the Shippenville and then later the Clarion barracks. His only assignment away from the Clarion County barracks was a few months at the Punxsutawney barracks after he was promoted to corporal.
“Clarion County has always reminded me of where I grew up — in the country, no big cities, woods to hunt in and space to roam,” said Munsee of spending his career here. “The people here are
good, hard-working folks who are always ready to sit down and visit.
“Coming here was just like going back home.”
Munsee, 49, was born and raised on a farm outside of Wattsburg in Erie County .
His decision to be a state trooper was influenced by his father and his interest in detective work.
“My dad always thought it would be a good job and I didn’t want to spend everyday inside a building somewhere,” said Munsee. “I always wanted to solve mysteries, like the detectives I watched on TV and read about in novels.”
His assignment to Clarion County led to marriage and children.
While working as a trooper, Munsee met Cindi Collett from the village of Limestone , then an employee at the county’s domestic relations office.
“It was his baby-blue eyes,” quipped Cindi, who became Cindi Munsee on Sept. 10, 1983 . “His wit and his charm… everyone likes Rex. He had me at ‘hello.’”
Cindi Munsee continued, “What characteristics drew me to him? Yes, it was his baby blue eyes and as I said, he had me at ‘hello.’ Most importantly, Rex is a kind-hearted individual who gives so much of himself to others. He’s been a wonderful husband, father and provider to us. He never complains and is always willing to help anyone who asks.
“During the 25 years we’ve been married, numerous people have called him at home for help and even though he wasn’t ‘on the clock,’ he always took the time to answer their questions and help in anyway he could.”
Cindi Munsee said her husband has even had people he has arrested come to him and tell him thanks for helping turn their lives around.
“It’s funny because I was raised in Clarion County and Rex came from Erie County but he knows more people in this area than I do,” said Cindi Munsee. “When I meet someone and tell them I am Cindi Munsee they always come back with, ‘Is Rex Munsee your husband?’
“And I’ve always been proud to say, ‘yes.’ Then they always take the time to tell me a story about him and how much he helped them.”
The couple has two children, Cassie, 19, and Ross, 15.
The good and bad
As with any police officer, Munsee has experienced the ups and downs of a career in law enforcement.
Munsee said there parts of the job he always enjoyed.
“Conducting investigations and putting bad people in jail,” Munsee said of his enjoyable duties. “The freedom of jumping in a car and going on patrol anywhere I wanted to in Clarion County .”
The good is always tempered with a down side, though.
“Job-wise, delivering death notifications to people was the hardest part,” said Munsee. “Personally, the constantly changing work schedule and too few weekends off (were a down side).”
And with 27 years on the job, Munsee retires with some vivid memories.
“I don’t want to mention names, but a few of the homicide cases that occurred from Crown to New Bethlehem stick out in my mind,” said Munsee. “Some of the truly heinous child abuse cases, especially ones where the father sexually abused his own children. Some particularly gory car crashes.
“I’ve got decades worth of stories to tell.”
Those who know him…
Those who worked with Munsee have a few stories of their own.
State police Cpl. Alan Carmichael has worked with Munsee for 14 years at the Clarion and Shippenville barracks.
“Rex is different than most police officers. Even when he is arresting someone, they usually thank him,” said Carmichael . “He rarely raises his voice. He is old school because he still believes most people wouldn’t lie to him.”
Carmichael recalls one occasion a few years ago when Munsee was conducting an interview at the station.
“The guy lied to him and made Rex so mad that he raised his voice and kicked the guy out of the station,” said Carmichael . “While he was doing so, because he raised his voice, everyone on station came running to his aid because they thought something bad had happened in order for him to raise his voice.”
Carmichael said of his co-worker and friend, “Even with all the bad things police deal with, and Rex had done so for 27 years, he still sees the good in someone first, until a person changes his mind.”
Those who know Munsee will agree he has a high level of “lexipensity.”
Lexipensity is defined as the indication or measure of a person’s tendency to enjoy words and their meaning; an innate inclination to all things lexical.
“Rex is articulate. He uses words in his reports the average person has no idea what the word means and they have to look it up just to figure out what he is saying,” said Carmichael . “On at least one occasion in the past, Rex had to be told to use common words.
“A word that comes to mind is ‘indagation.’ Rex started using indagation in place of investigation. A call came in from Troop C headquarters ‘advising’ Rex to use common words in the future.
“We all believed it was because they got tired of looking the words up to figure out their definition.”
Clarion County District Attorney Mark T. Aaron said Munsee’s retirement is a loss to the county’s law enforcement team.
“We call him ‘Father Munsee’ at the office,” said Aaron. “People seem to come to him to confess.”
“I’ve worked with the best men and women in the entire state police force at the Shippenville and Clarion barracks,” said Munsee. “The people of Clarion County are blessed to have the caliber of troopers working for them that they do,” said Munsee. “I’ve enjoyed my time as a trooper and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of a law
During the past few years, Munsee has worked as a substitute teacher under the Riverview Intermediate Unit’s guest teacher program. Munsee said he will likely continue to participate in that program.
“I’ve had a college degree in criminal justice since 1981 from Gannon University ,” said Munsee. “I just thought it would be nice to get some use out of it and I enjoy teaching students, especially teenagers.”
As for more specific plans, Munsee concluded, “I’m going to run as a candidate for a county-wide office in Clarion County.”