Thursday, October 11, 2012
Hollowell new police chief
By SUE WATSON
One of Holly Springs’ native sons has been selected the new chief of police, in a department that has seen a lot of turnover in administrations in recent years.
William Hollowell served in the U.S. Marine Corps, entering at age 17 and leaving at 21. He served one tour of eight months and 14 days in Da Nang, Vietnam.
He was employed seven years on the Holly Springs police force, after being hired at age 21 to work under chief Freddie Autry and assistant chief John Shaw.
He served his country in the U.S. Army before returning to Marshall County to continue his career interests. The highlight of his Army career was when he served as second in command at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban refugee crisis.
He helped detain Cuban refugees who were picked up by the Army as they fled Castro’s Cuba. The refugees, considered felons and excludables from the regular population who were seeking political asylum, were held at Camp X-Ray during the crisis. Camp X-Ray is the code name for the camp that most recently had been used to house detained suspects from the War on Terrorism. It was closed in April, 2002, and prisoners were transferred to Camp Delta.
Hollowell and his wife Annie live on family land in Waterford, where his father, the late Albert Hollowell, and his mother Wilmer, raised their children. His mother, 94, remarried and is Wilmer Jones.
Hollowell said he was one of two full-time black police officers on the force in 1973 and Autry allowed him to finish his college degree at Ole Miss while serving in Holly Springs. He received a bachelor’s in public administration with a major in law enforcement from Ole Miss in 1980. Afterward, Hollowell joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer and retired after 20 years.
While in the Army, Hollowell was stationed abroad in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. He also earned a Master of Science in administration from the University of Central Michigan.
After retirement from the Army, Hollowell spent two years teaching military science at Ole Miss as an interim professor. Since then he has taught JROTC with the Memphis, Tenn., City School System, serving nine years.
He said he wants to be chief to make a positive contribution to the community.
“That’s my major reason,” he said, “to be an example to young people and to better the community.”
Three things that will be top priority in the beginning, he said, are department morale, increasing officers’ salaries and improving equipment.
“I’m totally elated,” he said, noting that his picture ran with the late Chief Autry last week in Pages of the Past in The South Reporter, the day after he was appointed.
Hollowell said he wants to continue the tradition that was in place when he was a young police officer in 1973, when the department had a better reputation in the community.
He said the reputation of the department during the 1990s was tainted by corrupt leadership. He said wants to bring back the professionalism and respect that police officers enjoyed during the 1970s and 1980s.
As a leader, Hollowell said he will move the department forward using positive leadership that promotes positive attitudes.
“I’m a firm believer that people respond to positive attitudes,” he said.
“I’m very grateful to the mayor and board of aldermen for having confidence in me and I am resolved to not disappoint them. I will do my duty as a police chief.”
Hollowell was recommended by Mayor Andre’ DeBerry and unanimously approved by a vote of the board of aldermen.
“I think he is going to do a good job,” alderman Russell Johnson said. “He knows the community and he will be good for the community. We need a fresh start and I hope he will serve a long time.”
Hollowell was sworn in as chief of police Tuesday of this week at city hall.
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