News of Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock’s retirement spread like wildfire hours before the formal announcement last week.
He told news reporters he is having surgery to repair a damaged rotator cuff tendon. Those tendons are tough pieces of connective tissue that control the motion of the shoulder joint where the upper arm bone, shoulder blade and collarbone meet. Surgery can help restore pain-free range
of motion and full function in a damaged shoulder joint.
Medlock says he is retiring from law enforcement at the end of the year and has no other plans. He will take leave Sept. 1.
The chief fought back tears as he thanked God and “his long-suffering wife, Gloria.” He recited the department’s accomplishments over the three-and-a-half years he served. They include being among the first departments in the state to equip police cars with dash cameras and officers with body cams. He said more than 100 surveillance cameras have been installed around the city. They feed real time video signals to a crime information center at police headquarters. Medlock emphasized his faith in the 600 men and women of the Fayetteville Police Department and pointed to his command staff as the best in North Carolina. Medlock came to Fayetteville from Charlotte where he served most recently as a deputy chief.
“It’s a completely different time, a different culture,” Mayor Nat Robertson said of Medlock’s tenure. Senior Assistant Chief Katherine Bryant agreed saying “He’s a good guy to work for. We’ve changed the police culture.”
Bryant served with four police chiefs and is wrapping up a 30-year career with the FPD. “I was supposed to leave before him,” she said. Bryant retires in March.
Moments after Medlock’s retirement, City Councilman Larry Wright told Up & Coming Weekly that Council members have the responsibility of making sure the chief’s legacy of community policing is continued. At a community meeting several hours after Medlock made his announcement, retired Cumberland County School Superintendent Dr. John Griffin called out to him “Don’t leave us like this, hang in there a little while longer.” Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin hosted the meeting.
“The chief has meant a lot in bringing this community together, following the rough patch we had a few years ago,” he said. His reference was to allegations of racial profiling by city police under a former chief. “He has closed the gap and African-American leadership is obliged to make sure his legacy is untarnished,” Colvin added. When asked whether Chief Medlock realized the impact he has had in Fayetteville, two members of his command staff said “probably not,” in unison.
Interim City Manager Doug Hewitt said he will name an acting chief of police in a couple of weeks. He was reminded of Dallas, Texas, Deputy Chief Malik Aziz’s interest in the job here three years ago. He and Medlock were the two finalists for the post. Aziz is still with the Dallas Police Department.