When he retires on January 7, 2025, Indiana State Police Master Trooper Kelly Lazell will have invested 36 years and 55 days on the force. Raised in Franklin, Lazell chose to rear his own three children near his childhood home. His father died when Lazell was only 10 and his mother worked outside of the home while single-parenting Lazell and his siblings.

When Lazell wanted to purchase a 1978 Ford Fairlane, his mother helped him with the initial purchase, in which he then earned money to pay her back. His childhood instilled in him a life of responsibility and shaped the man he grew up to be.

When Lazell was 17, he was pulled over for a loose license plate infraction in that car. As the officer pulled awa,y leaving him with only a warning, he looked over to his passenger and said, “I’m going to do that someday.”

That officer was J.D. Richards, a well-known officer in the community. Lazell soon found himself looking up to him as a mentor throughout his life.

After graduating from Franklin Community High School in 1978, Lazell realized he needed time to mature before heading to college. He spent a year working at Whiteside’s, a downtown Franklin men’s clothing store. He spent the next four years at Indiana State University, majoring in Physical Education, where he met his wife Jill.

Following college, Lazell looked back to that traffic stop and decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. He began as a reserve officer for the Johnson County Sheriff’s office in 1984 and went full-time in 1985. He then took the next step in his career and applied to the Indiana State Police. He said it took him five times to pass the exam, but finally passed in June of 1988. Upon his installment with the State Police, J.D. Richards presented him with his own badge number – #844, which Lazell still wears proudly.

Lazell says he loves the structured life of law enforcement. He has been a firearms instructor, participated in special details, received his 35-year service pin and 1.2 million mile driving pin.

As an on-road police officer, he approaches everyone he stops with a calm, cautious, and polite manner.

No one can dispute his career had its fair share of danger. When asked if he is ever afraid while doing his job, he replied, “You have to be afraid, if you’re not afraid, then you need to get out of this line of work.” He often gives these words of advice to new officers.

After years of long hours, rotating shifts, and sacrifices he has made throughout his career, he is eager to spend more leisure time sharpening his golf game, have additional time with his family including two grandchildren, and travel with Jill. He said he will continue his lifetime hobby of fitness and is looking forward to working out with his son.

In addition to those activities, he plans to take a civilian position with the ISP Motor Carrier Office, working the scales along highways.

Reflecting on his career, he says. “I’m happy I got to do what I wanted to do.”

Comments 11

  1. Brenda Richey says:

    Great article about my childhood friend Kelly. We started kindergarten together, and are still good friends 59 years later.
    I believe in high school, he and Kenny Swint spent a week at a State Trooper camp for teenagers.
    Thank you Tina for a great read

  2. Tim Wood says:

    I met Kelly at Johnson County back in 1984 when I was a Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy starting out. Kelly was all business. As I got to know him a little better we formed a friendship that I value so much. I admire his Commitment and Dedication to Law Enforcement. Well Done Kelly, and Congratulations on Your Retirement. You have Served Us Well.

  3. Sheryl says:

    You’re one fine man. Thank you for the years of public service and keeping us safe! I’m so proud ❤️👏🙏🇺🇸

  4. Jeff Lazzell says:

    Congratulations, brother! You deserve a long, relaxing retirement after so many years of outstanding public service.

  5. Steven Bond says:

    Outstanding, congratulations and well-deserved brother. Never knew that about Papa‘s badge.

  6. Lisa Rightsell says:

    Congratulations and thank you for your years of selfless service!

  7. Robert Doles says:

    I’ve known Kelly since I was his junior high principal. I am proud of this man!

  8. Jerry Mitchell says:

    Proud of you brother! The special

  9. David Hyatt says:

    I’ve known Kelly since I was a teenager (over 35 years). I lived next door to him and his family for 18 years. They were great neighbors as well as friends. Congratulations on a great service. Enjoy your retirement.

  10. John Henry says:

    Kelly a am proud to have met you and called you my friend thanks for the long talks at the jail and thanks to bob wilson

  11. John Winslow says:

    I would like to say that Kelly is one hell of a man and police officer. Almost 37 yrs of service to this community, his wife also in teaching.Hes one hell of a individual and I would have him on my team any day of the week. Good luck Kelly you deserve everything that you have coming to you, God Bless you and may the lord stay in your heart till you meet Jesus christ. Maybe you should run for governor or something hell,take over for Biden LOL good luck old man

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