HIGH POINT, N.C. -- After 31 years of law enforcement, Police Chief Marty Sumner retires from the High Point Police Department.
City leaders, officers and guests celebrated and said goodbye Friday afternoon with a retirement reception. Sumner was even presented with a key to the city.
Sumner said he plans to take some time off while reflecting on what the next purpose in his life will be.
For 30 years, he contributed to the service and well-being of the city of High Point.
Sumner recalls his earlier days as a 21-year-old patrolling along the other side of Main Street in beat three.
“I wasn't in High Point a week before I saw my first murder, I didn't even see one in Thomasville,” Sumner said. “It's changed for the better, it needs a lot more redevelopment obviously but I always really held to the belief that you don’t have to be rich to be safe.”
Sumner said that the department’s training, education of the officers and culture is second to none and makes High Point stand out in comparison to other agencies.
He’s also taken pride in the accomplishments within the city that have been recognized nationwide.
“What I'm most proud of is we were able to lower violent crime in the late 90s.
It's 61 percent lower than it was when I was working the street which is great. We've found a way to close drug markets shared that and now we’ve found a way to re-engineer how we respond to domestic violence and that has completely lowered our homicides with domestics,” Sumner said.
Sumner feels fortunate to able to serve the community where he grew up, however the next chief should be the best candidate regardless if he or she is from within the department or elsewhere.
Besides the capital need within the department for a larger, ewer facility, Sumner believes the next Chief should focus on building up the youth of High Point.
“We have a lot of work to be done with youth. We've done some pretty impressive things with the adult population but we can still work upstream with the youth to try and get some better stronger partnerships. Pretty soon here a new superintendent is going to be stepping in. We should ask, what can you do to partner with the schools and the neighborhoods to really make some changes in the youth,” Sumner said.
Throughout his entire career, Sumner said he enjoyed building relationships with the community and his officers.
He hopes the strong core values of respect and communication will carry on.