Goodlettsville Police Chief Retires After 40 Years
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. - On Tuesday, a police department said goodbye to one of its longest serving employees. Goodlettsville Police Chief Richard Pope is retiring after more than 40 years.
In the era of people bouncing from job to job during their careers, Richard Pope is the exception. Chief Pope started with the Goodlettsville Police in 1972, just one year after crews built RiverGate Mall.
"When I started I didn't anticipate being here, my career being 40 years," said Pope.
Pope started volunteering and training with Goodlettsville Police in high school. After the military he got hired as a dispatcher-- and now more than four decades, many ranks and looks later, he's Chief, who, despite his homemade sign, has trouble taking the compliments waiting for him at every turn.
The years have been full of laughs, but there have been hard times as well. In 1999, Detective Lynn Hicks responded to a domestic disturbance, got ambushed and became the only officer killed in the line of duty in department history.
"I can tell you right where I was when they called me. What I was doing," said Pope. "That sticks with you for the rest of your life. It never goes away."
Pope is being replaced by long-time Metro Police Captain Gary Goodwin.
"Those are huge shoes to fill. They really are. And all I can do really is just come in and do the best I can and try to carry on the good tradition that he set," said Goodwin.
As he tried to deal with not putting on his uniform and coming to the place and people he has for so long, Pope remembered some of the people he met along the way.
"Sure I'll miss the work. There are some aspects of it I'll always miss. I mean you don't get into police work and just turn around and walk off and leave it, but the individuals that I work with over the years. That will be the harder part."
Pope will finish out the week in a shirt and tie in place of his uniform, with his retirement officially beginning Saturday.