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Marquette was well served by Sal Sarvello

Superiorland lost a true community icon a week ago when it became known that former Marquette Police Department chief Sal Sarvello had died at age 73.

Sarvello, who spent the better part of four decades protecting and serving the residents of Marquette, enjoyed the reputation of being a tough, effective police officer and investigator — and decent human being — at the same time.

Although many may not know it, Sarvello was a friend to local journalists and the First Amendment. He found ways to get along with the press, providing that information which circumstances allowed, even when things were difficult, while getting his job done.

That ability should be taught in police academies.

He was born and raised in Ishpeming, spending time in the U.S. Air Force before starting a career in law enforcement on the campus of Northern Michigan University. At MPD, he served as a patrolman, worked his way through the ranks as a detective and eventually served as chief of police before his retirement in 2001.

He first became well known to local journalists when he was promoted to detective, a bureau at MPD he eventually led as captain. Most often, he was paired with Hank Steede, another in a long line of talented, bulldog Marquette detectives that took on some of the toughest cases in the Upper Peninsula.

A visitation and Mass of Christian burial took place Friday at the St. Michael Catholic Church. Both were well attended.

Sarvello will be missed.