Thursday, October 26, 2005
hires two department heads
By SUE WATSON
A little 9-year-old boy dreamed of one day becoming a police officer. He grew up and became a law man and dreamed a bigger dream - to serve as chief of police. His dream came true last week.
Chief Robert Pearson is due to arrive in Holly Springs from Detroit, Mich., next week to fill the position vacated by Chief Robert Burby two years ago. Patricia Selman has served in this important role as interim chief of police for the city.
Pearson was born in Waverly, Tenn. and at age 6 was carried by his parents to live in the northern tier of states - Saginaw, Mich.
So probably while living in the dairy state Pearson realized he was drawn to public service.
He considers himself a servant/leader, and takes his new role and responsibilities very seriously.
“I consider this job a very responsible job and myself to be in the service of the people of Holly Springs,” Pearson said in an interview last week. “I think it’s quite a responsibility and I intend to do everything I can to do a good job.”
While visiting Holly Springs this year, Pearson said he drove around town and talked to lots of people on the street. In a way he was interviewing the town. He was pleased at the response he got from the community on his first visit.
“All except one person had good things to say about the police department,” Pearson said. “There are some good people in the police department. I perhaps can bring some new ideas. I never go into a place thinking I can do everything myself. I think we have good people there and I hope I can facilitate this and we can move forward.”
Most of Pearson’s career has been spent in the north. He spent over 25 years in law enforcement, starting out with the Michigan State Police where the groundwork was laid for a career in law enforcement.
He retired and moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., where by coincidence he was offered the deputy police chief’s position. He served two years before receiving an offer to work security and law enforcement for light rail in Detroit’s transit system. Pearson served as administrator of field operations overseeing police officers and organizing security for Detroit Transportation Corporation.
Pearson earned a Bachelor of Science in organizational management at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga. And he is a graduate of the 143rd session of the FBI Academy.
Pearson’s coming to Holly Springs gives him an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime police officer’s dream and puts him closer to his Southern roots in Waverly, Tenn., where he spent most summer vacations with his grandparents as a youngster.
“I spent most of my time up north and every summer, the first ride back I’d get on it,” he said.
During the summer he worked on the farm with his grandfather, the late Henry Goodrich, and his grandmother, Maggie Goodrich. And he got plenty of attention from his aunts who also lived in Waverly.
Pearson helped his grandfather grow corn, tend to the pigs and cows and work the garden.
“We grew everything we had there,” he said.
Somewhere between Waverly and Saginaw there is a set of claw marks, Pearson said he left at age 5 or 6 years old when his parents “dragged me north all the way to Saginaw.”
“I like to tell people I left claw marks all the way there,” he said.
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