ELIZABETHTON — The new head of the Elizabethton Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is a familiar face.
Newly promoted Capt. Joy Markland worked in CID for five years, first as a family violence investigator and then as a criminal investigator. She was promoted to sergeant while a member of the division.
Markland was selected by Chief of Police Matt Bailey to lead CID after Capt. Mike Merritt announced earlier this month that he was leaving the post in order to pursue a career in the financial field with Edward Jones Investments.
“I am honored,” Markland said of her promotion. “These are large shoes to fill, but I am blessed with a sound and experienced group of men. I am looking forward to working with them. I want the transition to go smoothly.”
Although Markland had uncles and great uncles who were in law enforcement, she had no interest in the field when she was growing up.
“I heard them talk about it when the family was together,” Markland said, but she had different career goals when she was attending Elizabethton High School.
She first became interested in law enforcement while attending East Tennessee State University. “I took some courses that were parallel to law enforcement and that got me interested. That is when I decided to go into the profession.”
After graduation, Markland placed applications at several agencies, but felt the call of home when she was accepted by the EPD.
She joined the department as a patrol officer in 2002. She worked in the patrol division until she was assigned to CID as the family violence officer in 2005. She was then assigned as a criminal investigator and worked closely with then-Sgt. Merritt. In 2009, she was promoted to sergeant and stayed in CID. In 2010, she was reassigned to the patrol division as a patrol sergeant.
She continued in that role until her final shift with patrol Sunday. She was off for President’s Day on Monday and returned to CID as its new leader Tuesday.
Markland is married to Carter County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Jeff Markland. He has also worked both as a patrol officer and investigator. She said a marriage of two law enforcement officers is not always successful, but she said “I think it works for us. He understands the stresses I am under and I understand his. He is very supportive and I have a very strong circle of friends and family.”
Markland said she has no immediate goals except to make sure the transition in leadership goes smoothly for her and the men she leads. She said she wants to make sure “there is no disruption in what they do.”
After learning the art of criminal investigation under Merritt for five years, it seems likely that Markland intends to follow the course he charted.