New police chief believes in community

Published 11:35 am Thursday, April 11, 2019

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Pat Reagan isn’t afraid of hard work.

But Mocksville’s newest police chief is down to just one job.

Reagan, who began his new duties on April 1 after serving as interim and acting chief, chief detective, detective, road officer and as an auxiliary or part-time office since 2008.

He came to Mocksville as a compromise with wife, Brandi. They lived in Wilkes County, and worked in Winston-Salem. They wanted to start a family, and be closer to their jobs.

She wanted to move to Winston-Salem. He didn’t. They decided on Mocksville after several Sunday afternoon trips to town. “People didn’t know who we were, but they still waved at us,” he said.

“God has a place for us. We may not understand it, but He will reveal it to us,” Reagan said.

His career in law enforcement Reagan’s family moved to Raleigh when he was 10. He quickly became a N.C. State University fan. He and his dad had always been interested in weather and storms, so Reagan went to N.C.
State where he earned a degree in meteorology.

He wasn’t sure what to do with the degree until the local FOX station started the area’s first 10 p.m. news and offered him a job. Occasionally, he was giving the weather report on air. Working in a small office, he also answered the phone.

One day, the phone started ringing while he was reporting the weather, annoying him while he was trying to concentrate. He answered the phone, expecting to hear someone comment on his forecast. Instead, the caller told him his tie didn’t match his suit.

“I thought at that point, this is not what I really want to do,” he said.

He got a job in Charlotte, doing permit and atmospheric work. Then he worked for the state, which was launching a program to try to warn the public when the weather makes it difficult for some people to breathe. They developed a color code to warn people.

From there, he went to Forsyth County, doing similar work.

All the time, in the back of his mind, was the idea that he wanted to be a police officer. He graduated from the Winston-Salem Police Academy and was quickly hired. He kept his other job.

He lived in Mocksville at the time, and Daniel Matthews, a veteran Mocksville officer, asked him to join the local police force. It hit him one day while traveling to Winston-Salem to work.

“I thought, my family and friends are here. Why am I leaving home to help make another area safe.”

He took a position here in 2008, and help two jobs until 2013 when he became a full-time Mocksville officer.

He rose in the ranks quickly.

Former Chief Todd Penley asked him in 2014 if he had ever considered being a detective. He hadn’t, but said he was willing to do whatever the department needed. “I was happy to help out however I needed to,” he said.

Reagan remembers well that day in 2015 when former assistant chief Nelson Turrentine met him at the door and bluntly told him the chief wants to see you. The chief asked for his badge and ID. Reagan said he thought it would be bad, but he didn’t ask for his weapon. He was being promoted.

He was named assistant chief after Turrentine’s retirement, acting chief after Penley’s retirement.

“He (Penley) built a good program. We can roll with what he put in place. I’m a resident of Mocksville and I hope to be in this department for a long time. I want to know the chief and the right people are in place.”

A numbers person, Reagan said he doesn’t mind working on budgets.

“I’m real stingy with money – whether it’s personal or the taxpayer’s money.”

He said that coming up through the ranks, he understands the problems that each of his officers might face. He plans to remind his command staff to remember what it is like to be a patrol officer, the first on the scene to major and minor crimes.

The department has already implemented many of his ideas for community involvement. They work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, host Coffee with a Cop every first Wednesday morning at The Factory Coffeehouse, adopted a “spokes cat,” Sarge Butters, and regularly visit local nursing homes to interact with residents.

“I’ve always loved this community and the residents are receptive and supportive of the police department. They want to see us as people, not just police officers. The citizens have to be comfortable with us. The way to do that is to be out in the community as residents, not just officers.

“We have a great group of people here.”