For 14 years Jeremy Hall has patrolled the streets of Coats, with the last 10 as chief. But past health problems and a desire to spend more time with family has led him to a decision to retire.
“A lot of it does have to do with the health issues,” he said. “It was also the family. I want to spend more of the time with my family. When you get later in life, the more important thing you have is time.”
Hall retires as one of the longest tenured chiefs in Coats and Harnett County. That aside, Hall says he will be forever grateful to the community, its people and leadership, for having the trust in him they’ve shown since he took over the role in 2010.
“The town has been so gracious and wonderful,” Hall said. “And not just during my sickness. It’s all the time. It’s such a people-based community, one where everyone works together.”
It’s the people he’ll remember most.
“Usually twice a week I went store-to-store, business-to-business. That kept me up on what was going on,” he said. “The people are what I’ll miss the most.”
Hall and his department are in a rather unique situation when it comes to police and community. Instead of distance or apprehension between the department and the people of Coats, there is a trust and sort of friendship Hall believes defines their relationship. It’s something which Hall has always tried to expand by hiring the right person to take on the role of police officer in Coats.
He says choosing the proper temperament, understanding and same sense of community in his officers has been key to making the bond between cops and community grow to where it is today. Kind of like Mayberry.
“I look at that as a compliment,” he said. “It was that close knit. You always knew whose relative was doing what, whose family. That’s what it was about. You knew what was going on and were able to head it off before it ever became an issue.”
Seeing how the community would rally around someone or a family in their time of need gave him pride as well.
“Probably the thing I’ve seen the most was when the churches would have their day of unity and would all come together,” he said. “You don’t always see that. Everybody would have their own little individual thing and they never really worked together.”
Instead he always saw the common goal of working for the community as one to take pride and a place to draw inspiration. He never saw anything short of joy in the day of unity, he said.
Hall admits he enjoys the challenge of making sure something like a parade goes smoothly, despite the obstacles that can come with crowds.
“I’m always most nervous when it starts and as it goes along,” he said. “There’s always a lot there, but it’s always enjoyable.”
Hall will miss many things that went into his role as a small town police chief, but admits it’s the little things he’ll miss the most.
“Truly helping somebody who needs the help, is what I’ll miss a lot,” he said. “The more meaningful end of being able to go to a call where you can quell a situation where there’s turmoil — that’s the part I’m going to miss.”
-Dunn Daily Record