In a surprise move, interim Police Chief Kimothy Monroe announced his retirement from the Laurinburg Police Department Tuesday night.
Monroe made the announcement prior to a city council agenda planning session, held in the cramped quarters of the upstairs conference room of the Barrett Building.
“Is there any room in there? I know it’s short notice,” joked Monroe before telling the city council that he would take what he called a “really great retirement package” and leave law enforcement to become an entrepreneur.
“Laurinburg has been a very good place for me to work. I’ve enjoyed being here a whole lot,” said Monroe, who joined the Laurinburg Police Department in 1992.
Monroe was promoted to interim police chief in January after the retirement of Chief John Evans at the end of 2012.
“I never knew how many good people I was going to meet along the way, but along with the good people in Laurinburg, they also offer … a retirement package that I feel like I can’t refuse, and I want to take advantage of that,” Monroe said.
It was reported last month that Monroe was one of three finalists to become the full time police chief, along with Laurinburg PD Investigator Darwin Williams and Sanford Police Department officer Eric Pate.
Since then it was announced by city Human Resources Director Amy Martin that the list of finalists had been narrowed to two ahead of a round of interviews last week.
It’s unclear whether the outcome of those interviews had any bearing on Monroe’s decision.
“It’s a new generation now, and new things need to be brought to the table, and the next person will bring a new dynamic,” Monroe said after revealing his retirement decision. “I put my best in … and I’ve had a good career. I know the department will do well.”
It is also unclear when the retirement will take effect.
Included in Monroe’s plans for the future is starting a new business with his family, the details of which he said that he would like to keep to himself for the time being.
“My brother and I are talking about a business together and I would hate to divulge any information right now, but it’s something that we can do together as a family. It’s time for us to work together.”
Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker praised Monroe for his service to the city after the announcement, saying that Monroe always handled requests “in an expedited fashion and always with spot-on detail.”
“I kind of found out today that (Monroe) wanted to address council, and I expressed to him my sincere ‘thank you’ from council and personally,” Parker said. “He personally gave me great service and I feel like the city council feels the same way.”
Possibly exiting the Barrett Building for the last time as a member of law enforcement, Monroe was bid farewell with applause and handshakes from the city council and staff.
“We wish you well in your new endeavor. I said this serious thing before … and I said it kind of jokingly, but it would be on my mind … At some point in a layman’s career he has to quit chasing bullets,” Parker said.
“Yes he does,” said Monroe, smiling in agreement.