Police Chief Retires after 23 Years with PCC
WINTERVILLE—After a 30-year law enforcement career, including 23 years as chief of the Pitt Community College Police Department, Alan Edwards retired from his post at the end of last month.
A former Pitt County sheriff’s deputy, Edwards became PCC’s chief of public safety on Aug. 7, 1989, after a year with the Winterville Police Department and six with the sheriff’s office.
“It was a unique opportunity for me to come in as chief with what would now probably be considered a limited amount of experience for the position,” Edwards said. “But I knew the future of PCC was bright and that it would be a great opportunity for me. I could see the college was growing, and I knew the administrators who hired me would give me and the police department a chance to grow.”
The PCC campus featured just four buildings when Edwards came aboard, and the Bowen Farm, which is now home to several college buildings, was still privately owned and being farmed.
“Our department consisted of one-and-a-half positions,” Edwards says with a smile. “I was the only full-time officer, and Lee Bowen worked part-time.”
For the first few years on the job, Edwards and Bowen operated out of what they now affectionately refer to as “The Silver Bullet,” a 10-foot-by-35-foot trailer that was parked outside of the Vernon E. White Building. There were no squad cars for patrolling campus, and the two officers furnished their own weapons for the job.
Obviously, much has changed in the more than two decades Edwards has been chief.
The PCC Police Department is now comprised of six full-time sworn officers and seven part-time sworn and unsworn officers who have a fleet of patrol cars at their disposal and are supplied with the specialized weaponry and equipment needed to carry out their jobs. Last summer, members of the department moved out of a single-wide trailer they inherited from the college’s radiology department in 1993 and into a brand new, 3,000-square-foot building in the center of campus.
Though Edwards says he enjoyed watching the department grow in terms of officers, equipment, and facilities during his tenure, he says it is something intangible that gives him the greatest satisfaction when he looks back on his 23 years with the college.
“I’m proudest of how the department has come to feature well-educated and well-trained police officers and staff members who work hard each day to provide a safe learning environment for Pitt Community College students and employees,” he said. “Not only have those individuals earned the respect of people on campus but of those serving with other law enforcement agencies in the area as well. These people are as good as anybody in law enforcement.”
On Thursday—his final day as chief—Edwards said he was experiencing mixed emotions and was having a hard time believing how fast his 23 years with the college had gone. Without hesitation, he said he would miss coming into work each morning, jokingly adding, “I’ve had access to a patrol car for 30 years and I’m not quite sure what it’s going to be like for me to drive a car that doesn’t have flashing lights and a siren.”
One thing Edwards is certain of is that he will remain a sworn officer and that he plans to get in some quality hunting and fishing time. He also says he wants to do some traveling with his wife, Jenny, who retired from PCC last spring, and will devote more of his time to Winterville’s Friends in Fellowship Christian Church, where he serves as an elder.
A Greene County native, Edwards received an associate degree in business administration from PCC in 1982. He completed his basic law enforcement training through the Coastal Plain Law Enforcement Academy at Wilson Technical Community College in March 1983 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from N.C. Wesleyan College 10 years later.