First Posted: 6/6/2009
Mount Airy Police Chief Roger McCreary has announced he will retire effective Oct. 1, bringing a 28-year law enforcement career to a close.
City Manager Don Brookshire said he will conduct a search for McCrearys replacement beginning within the next several weeks.
McCreary has spent nearly three decades as part of the Mount Airy force, beginning in 1981 as a patrol officer, a post he held for six years before being promoted to patrol sergeant. Four years later he assumed the duties of police lieutenant, and a decade after that he was promoted to the post of captain. He became a major in 2005, and was promoted to his present post in February 2007.
Working with the quality of people at the police department will always be a highlight of my career in law enforcement, McCreary said in a letter to Brookshire in which he formally announced his retirement. It has been a privilege to work with men and women of such outstanding character and commitment to this community.
Brookshire said the chief had discussed the idea of retirement with him.
Weve had some conversations, the city manager said. I was anticipating it at some point. It wasnt a big surprise. Still, Brookshire said filling McCrearys shoes will be a challenge. The timing is never right for something like that, for those of us on the receiving end.
Brookshire said the chief has been instrumental not only in running the police department, but in working with other departments in the city.
Perhaps not as visible to the public as it is to myself and the other members of my management team, Roger has brought a different kind of relationship of the police department to the city. The police department is that paramilitary, if you well, kind of organization. Its got a very strict chain of command and all of those things. Roger has certainly worked to make that fit better with the other departments of the city. Hes just bent over backwards to work closely with the other departments, Brookshire said. In my opinion, hes done a great job and Im going to miss him.
Those sentiments were shared by Mayor Jack Loftis and city commissioners Deborah Cochran and Dean Brown.
I personally think hes done a fantastic job and we had hoped he would continue to serve for three or four more years, the mayor said. Hes done a great job and we just wish him the best and wish him a very happy and long retirement.
He is a magnificent person, Cochran said. I was shocked (to learn of his retirement)…hes done a magnificent job with the police department, at every level, from the patrol to the very top.
I really regret that hes leaving because hes been a wonderful chief of police, Brown said. Hes been easy to work with…hes open to new ideas. Its our loss.
In commenting on McCrearys career, Brookshire said he recalled a statement the chief made while he was being considered for the departments top post.
The most important qualities that I possess are honesty and integrity, without this, a person will never have the trust of his people or the public, Brookshire said the chief told him that day. Chief McCreary has lived up to those standards while meeting the goals that the chief set forth in continuing a philosophy of community policing, citizen involvement and professionalism in the department and community. He has provided great leadership in a fair and honest manner to this city and I wish him the best for the future.
McCreary expressed confidence that the people in leadership positions within the department will continue working hard and are ready to step up if the opportunity presents itself.
For the past several years, we have aggressively trained and empowered our supervisors to become leaders and effective managers, he said in a written statement released to announce his retirement. When you combine quality people with focused training, commitment to serving the community, with experience, and a strong value of teamwork, you develop our future leaders. These leaders are ready to step up and perform the functions and responsibilities of command in our police department.
Brookshire said he hasnt yet decided if hell primarily look within the department for a replacement, or outside the agency. Both Cochran and Brown said they had spoken with the city manager and they believe he will consult with the commissioners regarding the vacancy, but ultimately make the decision on who to hire.
Don is outstanding when it comes to filling department head positions. We definitely, have the best, Cochran said.
Weve got some time to look at some options, see what is best for the department, Loftis said. Certainly we will look at the possibilities both inside the department and outside the department.
The mayor agreed with Cochran and Brown that the final decision will rest with Brookshire.
The city manager will get input and advice and recommendations from the board as that situation dictates, but he will make the decision.
Attempts to reach commissioners David Beal, Todd Harris, and Jon Cawley were not immediately successful.
John Peters can be reached at [email protected]