John Herring

Holly Springs Chief of Police John Herring retired on May 29 after a 27-year career with the Holly Springs Police Department.

Police Chief John Herring retired on may 29, ending a 27-year career with the Holly Springs police department. Lieutenant Jessica McMillan is the interim police chief.

Resume: I started (in Holly Springs) as a part-time officer in late 1993. A few months later there was an opening for a full-time position, and I’ve been here ever since. All of my career, every last day of it, has been right here.

Attitude: It’s important to have an attitude of wanting to be a guardian. For a long time, police were viewed to have a warrior mentality, but you have to be both in this profession. You have to be a guardian most of the time. When you are called upon to be a warrior, you step into that role.

Values: First and foremost it is about integrity. That’s where it all starts. The public has to trust us. If there is no trust there, no legitimacy, then it’s really difficult for us to do our job.

Proudest Moment: The day that I was originally sworn in here as a police officer, to accomplish something that was really important and that I had long desired to do. I still go back to that day, and the feeling of graduating The Basic School and actually taking the oath. … That’s where it all starts.

On Growth: It’s been a really challenging, but rewarding, ride to be a part of the growth and development of a very small department. When I started there were just three of us, and now we have over 90 employees.

School Resource Officers: I call it the crown jewel of our programs. We have officers in every school, even in elementary school. That’s where our officers start to build a rapport with kids. They build these really rich relationships, and we know it makes a difference. We’ve got officers who have been through elementary, middle and high school with these kids, and they’ve known them and their families all their lives.

COVID-19: I’m really going out with a bang. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s such a unique and unprecedented thing. It’s not like I can call a chief who has some experience with this and say, ‘What did you do when?’ It’s never happened before so all the chiefs have the same questions, and we’re all learning at the same time. I think we’ll weather this. We are strong.

In Retirement: We have a place at the coast, Emerald Isle, and I like to go down and fish. Once upon a time I was a woodworker. … My parents are still living and in good health. I really want to spend some time with them while they are. Being retired will give me the opportunity to do that.

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