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Santa Cruz Police Lt. Mark Sanders retired Thursday after nearly three decades of service. (Santa Cruz Police Department)

SANTA CRUZ -- A police lieutenant who helped train Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel retired Thursday after nearly three decades of service.

Mark Sanders, 53, worked as a detective, field training officer, traffic officer and many other roles.

"Mark has worked just about every job in the department," said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark. "He's been an invaluable part of this organization for quite a while."

After two years with the Monterey County Sheriff's Office, Sanders started with Santa Cruz police in 1985.

His positions included firearms team commander, which he led for several years to improve officers' tactical firearms proficiency.

Most recently, Sanders commanded the Investigations Unit where he oversaw detectives, victims' advocates and property and evidence booking.

When Vogel started at the department in 1987, Sanders trained him. Sanders also helped to train Clark and others.

"Many of my successes are due to his influence and the lessons he taught me when I started out in this job," Vogel said of Sanders.

Clark noted that Sanders often would "pipe up with a quick and witty comment in the middle of a pressure-packed staff meeting."

Sanders now plans to play golf, travel and spend time in Santa Cruz and Palm Springs.

"He's going to be greatly missed," said Clark.

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