“Here I am, retired,” said Kimothy Monroe, letting the words sink in as he stood before a crowd gathered in his honor during the long time Laurinburg Police Department member’s retirement celebration this week.
Held at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, the event included dozens of Laurinburg’s finest as well as many other current and retired law enforcement members from around the state, all there to pay tribute to Monroe, who retired from law enforcement on August 1.
Monroe last served as interim police chief for the city, and was one of two finalists for a permanent spot at the chief’s desk.
The other finalist (and eventual winner of the job), Chief Darwin Williams, was also in attendance to offer a few words of praise to his friend on the occasion of his retirement.
“We have enjoyed you being a friend … and I hope we continue that going forward. My door is always open,” Williams said before handing Monroe his retired firearm.
“I hope to see you at the Christmas party.”
The evening, which included a catered meal, was emceed by another former Laurinburg Police Chief Robert Malloy.
In introducing Monroe, Malloy refused to pull any punches, telling the tale of how tobacco cropping (“croppin’ bacca”) was too difficult for Monroe as a kid and of how Monroe made his way to Laurinburg.
“When his buddies showed him how to crop bacca … old Kim passed out in the heat,” Malloy regaled.
“The sad part about it was that it was about 11 a.m.
“The landowner told him not to return, and he must have been a mind reader, because Kim was thinking the same thing.”
Monroe, said Malloy, attended Smithfield Selma High School, where he was a member of the drama team and – briefly – a football player.
“Being on the varsity team reminded him of the day he cropped bacca,” Malloy joked.
“He went on to attend North Carolina Central University … and first fell into a job with the Smithfield Police Department,” he continued.
“He also worked in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but the big city didn’t agree with Kim either, so he took another job with the city of Laurinburg as a police officer.
“And if you ask him, it was the best move he ever made.”
Malloy was responsible for bringing Monroe to Laurinburg in 1992, where he worked until his retirement this month.
Prior to taking the microphone himself, Monroe received a shadow box from Assistant Chief Cliff Sessoms containing every badge he’s worn during his career on the force.
A fan of music, Monroe said he suddenly found himself empathizing with musicians receiving awards when it came time for him to plan out his “thank-yous” for the retirement dinner.
“One thing I have always had a problem with was how many people they had to thank … and I realized I was guilty of the same thing,” Monroe said. “And it’s impossible. There’s no way I could remember every name to thank here tonight.”
Starting with his wife, Cherie, Monroe thanked the members of his family as well as those law enforcement professionals responsible for helping him along the way.
“I’d like to thank the members of the Laurinburg Police for their time and the conversations we’ve had and the relationships we’ve had … and the crime we have solved. It’s all irreplaceable.
“Friendships are made and friendships are forever,” Monroe said.
In thanking his former colleagues, Monroe also offered some words of wisdom to younger professionals currently on the job.
“The relationships and friends you meet along the way are part of making your life a better quality life. … Keep that in mind, younger members of the police department.”