New police chief: Cooleemee deserves protection

Published 9:07 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

COOLEEMEE – This town deserves good law enforcement.

And that’s what new police chief, Nelson Turrentine, promises.

Turrentine was hired as the part-time police chief last month after the retirement of former chief, Bobby West.

Turrentine retired as assistant police chief after 17 years with the Mocksville Police Department, and has served as an officer, detective, sergeant, and narcotics officer with the Davie Sheriff’s and Reidsville police departments.

He lives near Cooleemee, attends church here and cares about the community and its people.

“These people deserve law enforcement … somebody who will go out and talk to them,” he said. “After I retired, I felt like I have an opportunity to give back.”

He said the job is a good fit for him and for the town, which struggles to fund the department.

Turrentine sent in his resume early in the process, and was hired for 1,000 hours a year. The department has one full-time officer – Kevin Barker – and four part-time officers. Someone is usually on patrol at least 16 hours a day, he said.

He hopes to keep the crime rate low, and said he found the department in good shape administratively. Some of the equipment is old, but in good shape, he said.

“I’m here for the people of Cooleemee. My wife has been dedicated to serving the people, and I will do my best for the residents and visitors to the town.”

At age 53, Turrentine knows he has plenty of time to devote to the job. “Law enforcement is a career that’s never the same every day.”

As a young man, he knew other officers and thought the job would be exciting. “I’ve seen a lot of good things and bad things, but wouldn’t trade the ride for anything.”