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Helton set to retire July 1

By Carol Franch

Chief David Helton of Police and Public Safety, after working for the university for 13 years, is retiring on July 1.            

Helton, who has been involved in police work for 29 years, entered campus law enforcement almost by accident in 1979. He was turned down for a municipal police job, because he wore glasses, but that did not discourage him.

Helton later applied  for a job as a police officer at Gardner-Webb University and was hired.            
“Two weeks after starting the job, the municipality called and offered me a job, but I turned them down this time,” Helton said.

Working through the ranks, while also attending classes full-time, Helton earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Gardner-Webb in 1987. He was appointed the Chief of Police in 1988 where he worked until his arrival at Pembroke in 1994.            
“I had always hoped to find a position at a larger department because I felt it would allow me to offer a higher level of service to the campus community. When the Chief of Police position became vacant here, I was contacted by someone from the search committee and asked to apply,” Helton said.

“I had a strong background in community policing and crime prevention, had served six years as a Chief of Police, and evidently the committee felt I would be a good fit. I've never looked back, and have enjoyed working here more than anywhere I've ever been,” he said.            

Looking back on his experience at the university, Helton feels that one of the most rewarding parts of his job is the interactions he has had with students.

“It’s also nice knowing that you've made some small impact on making the campus a safer place in which to live, work and attend classes. The men and women in this department, and students that I have come to know, will be missed the most,” Helton said.            
Helton has enjoyed his experience working with the university but is curious to see what else his life has to offer and is in the process of making contact with potential employers and sending out resumes.

He remains open-minded to different opportunities but is interested in opening a retail health food store, or he may also look for another police chief position in another state.            

“Retirement is for old folks, much older than myself. I just felt after 29 years in campus police work that it was time to see what else there was to do in this life, before I got too old to try,” Helton said.


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Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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