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January 26, 2020 8:15 am
Everyone, I'm David Chadwick and Mrs. Newport 11 to 99 Freedom VP welcome to the show in case you don't know this is a faith and values program that I've been doing valve.
I tried to intersect faith and values with different people with different issues that are going on locally globally. It's always a pleasure doing the show. Thank you listeners for joining me every single week while today is a show that I have been looking forward to Chris Watts is with me in case you don't know that name. He is the police chief of this little southern town south of the border from Charlotte called rock Hill South Carolina. Chris is great having you on the show. Curious how long you been doing, the police chief oversight. First of all thank you for having me on the show is exciting to do and I appreciate the invitation, Rock Hill 73,000 and growing. Now we got a lot going on with the Panthers coming down so there's a lot of stuff going on a rock. So 73,000 and no longer are you considered a bedroom community of Charlotte are you you really are a growing, thriving city within yourself. Absolutely we have our uniqueness but were part of the you know Charlotte area. We embrace that is a great thing, but we have our uniqueness and Rock Hill and makes us a special little community is how how long you been doing this I have been police chief for seven years now okay working in law enforcement, all my time has been Rock Hill 31 years 31 years so that has been your career has been my related art to the point right now for little or will Chris tell us about yourself where were you raised and what your background. What took you into law enforcement so I was born in Charleston. Three months after that I had this wonderful comp couple come down and adopt me brought me back to Rock Hill so I was raised in Rock Hill had wonderful parents. Great childhood. As I grew up. I never wanted to be a police officer that that was not ever on my radar. I had aspirations to be a paramedic that was, fire, and you know rescue type work, and over time I ended up being a police officer in that point I was hoping when I got in the that profession if I couldn't make it through my career and make it as a detective not accomplish something and I could retire in. I went way past that in their yard today is that the police chief and I'm curious how does a police chief get selected as that position so for police chief, you are appointed by city manager or mayor. Rock Hill has a strong city manager form of government so I actually work for the city manager. Some places you have a stronger mayor and they would select so you were hired on the city manager or the mayor Sheriff's are elected by the people. So there little bit different but municipal police chiefs there's there selected and appointed by the Sigma.
So, who's your boss David behind city manager Rocky okay so he's the guy that gets on your case or doesn't always the one that gives me the guidance and my job is to make sure that is carried out great will and talk to us about your family, so I'm married the first blessing County my life that God gave me was being adopted by two great parents, Christian parents, the next probably was my wife. We got married. I met her. She had graduated from high school, I was still a senior year later we got married.
Really we got married early now almost 36 well 37 years, almost 38 years. Don't been married and married. All good and that was the second greatest blessing as I go through my life so her name is Jill. Her name is Jill and what kind of family do you have so I have two children one he's 28. He lives in Rock Hill still works in Charlotte and then my daughter lives here in Charlotte and is a teacher in Indian land a while since you have family close and that's always a blessing to be able to get in. My parents are still are they really that is that they live in Rock Hill.
It will have lunch today. Most likely I'll have lunch with generally on Thursdays.
I'll have lunch with them if I'm available. That's wonderful. You have that opportunity to still intersect with them.
I still miss my mom and dad so much, as they gone on to be with the Lord in heaven, but I do have them here and I think I tell people all the time. Hey, if you can have lunch if you can have breakfast or just some time with your mom and dad are still here, and especially the cognizant go do it immediately. Losing such a blessing to have in our lives and in you really love rock you let your life right now.
Is this a great city just be a part of a been blessed to spend my life there gamble when we come back from the break.
I want to talk to you about your daily duties. A lot of people can't begin to understand what that's like.
Talk to you some about the tensions that are in our culture right now that the police and your particular office have to deal with the tensions there maybe look ahead to the Republican national convention with that spillover into Rock Hill it all with some potential tensions there as well and just the general day to day operations of what it's like to be the police chief of again not a small Southern community, but an absolutely growing thriving community. That's continue to expand and will continue to expand as Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in this area is one of the fastest growing areas in all of the nation. I'm David Chadwick. This is news talk 11 to 99. Three. WBT will be right back everyone, I'm David Chadwick and this is news talk 11 to 99.
Three WBT welcome back. I guess today Chris Watts was the police chief of the thriving growing community called rock Hill South Carolina.
Chris is wonderful to have you on the show.
By the way, let me thank all my sponsors Ruth Chris steakhouse and also Peary's fine jewelry.
Your sponsorship allows us to do this show every week intersecting faith and values with different people and issues all around us.
Chris again, thank you it's great having you on the show and I think a lot of people would love to know what is it like to be the police chief of a city. What is your daily schedule like I'm sure that goes in and out according to the issues that you confront but but generally what your day like so is its ever-changing you can start out in the morning and you can have the day planned of everything you want to do, but life happens as would just take the other morning started out we had a barricaded individual who we had kidnapped Mort's own so that kind started out the day and that causes a lot of activity which kind of changes your plans so you're always trying to accomplish whatever agenda you have from the projects you're trying to do were constantly changing and reevaluating how were moving resources around again to try to reduce crime so that is a never ending battle of of what comes in in a crime really changes who's in jail. He's not in jail who's moving in to the area who's moving out, so that's constantly changing and one of the important parts of law enforcement is again focusing on crime keeping everybody safe. So the things you just want to accomplish administratively. Sometimes it's after hours that you get to do that because whether it's personnel issues that come up.
Whether it's again most for police chiefs is what's happening in the community and that's ever-changing so you have to be really flexible it and what you're doing and to handle whatever pops up that day so you're doing your normal day. What is your greatest fear getting that phone call and saying I've got to deal with this. Probably if an officer is hurt shot or there's just a shooting event. We have cameras all of our officers have cameras now and so we we go back and review we just pull randomly pull video to hey what's going on. How do we do this in as many times we look at the video and we just go while we were so close to having a bad a bad incident and I credit the officers of really working hard to manage those and not go overboard, so to speak, and you just see those and you cringes and it happens all the time whether it's Rock Hill or anywhere else that's just part of an officer's job and that's what scares me. If an officer may get hurt, shot or killed. That's that's probably worse in the biggest concern and the truth is just like in ministry.
My call to be a pastor there bad pastors who don't do things the right way, who may hurt people insensitively or whatever.
There are a few bad police officers as well. People who don't use their power and authority in a good way but most of them really are trying to the best of their ability to behave well and to do the job well. Absolutely. In any organization, no matter what happens were humans were sinners and people can mess up sometimes it's some individual just not trying to do the right thing.
A lot of times, and I'll say in policing that we do make mistakes but I think as far as policing in in in that field.
We do a pretty good job. The criteria to be hired as a police officer today is very demanding and what we expect as far standards but yes we can. And that's our job is police chiefs and supervisors is to make sure and always constantly look at what's going on. Are we doing it the right way and every community is little bit different and you alluded to the fact your worst nightmare is a police officer getting shot.
Is there one memory that you remember most in the last seven years as police chief of Rock Hill that you just go while that when really hurts it so January. I think it was the 16th 2018. Mike Doty was shot and killed Eagle County Sheriff's office. I got a call that morning because they were looking for the suspect and then the canine Randy Clinton, Sgt. Clinton running a canine got shot by the suspect. So they called our SWAT team just to assist because they were searching for this you know this guy so I got a call just let you know that our team or part of our team went out there just a standby. So I turn on the radio not generally don't keep the radio alone and then I heard there was other officer shot so I ended up going out there to the scene met with the sheriff and at the time you had before officer shot and then one ultimately Don Mike Doty and and that's that. Some you know one of those things you hope it will be one time in a lifetime that you ever have to experience but to have again that many officers hurt that seriously is just you know it is tough and you know Sheriff Tolson with you okay Sheriff's office did great job of working through that with his people. But that's just kind of the stuff we face in law enforcement and an that's really close to home there.
The it's interesting you remember the day and I'm sure you remember the time when I was little, I came in, and it's also vivid in your mind. I'm curious if you are experiencing the racial tensions that have been fairly well documented around the nation.
We have them here in Charlotte Rock Hill's only in a 30 mile down the road. Do you have the same kind of tensions not at that level were really blessed but we as a department work really hard from a community standpoint and community relations but also have to give credit to the community. They are engaged with us their things it that were working all were trying to improve but that police community relations is, like a marriage. You know, it might be good right now but you continually have to work at it just, it's good right now and you don't pay attention to what it can go bad. Really quick so for me and in my department that were constantly trying to have those relationships. If something does go bad that we have people that we can reach out in the community that we have built relationships hey can you help us through this give us that little bit of time to work through and find out what happened. Some a lot of times it's a lot more complicated than the news when you look at everything you put all the facts together so we need a little bit of time to do that and you saw it in Charleston both in the North Charleston Walter Scott shooting in the end, when the manual nine when that happened. Both of those departments had already built relationships and it really help them work through those tragedies and that's what I want to make sure. Hopefully we never do. I pray that we never do. But if it happens, we will work hard to have those relationships so I think we're but I want to say better than most in that relationship. But I don't want to say it like where it's there's work in progress. It's always there because the human heart is what I is that voices Chris Watts he is the police chief of the rock Hill South Carolina community Chris as the Republican national convention comes here. There a lot of people who think it's got calls rancor and stress. You know, we present trumping so divisive in so many ways. I do you think that could spill over into the Rock Hill community. All so we were involved was sent officers appear in the D&C and it was handled really well but I do believe that it's probably going to be more of a challenge with the RNC than the D&C and will have officers appear to help see MPD, but seeing Petey's is is just full of very competent, qualified professional officers and and I know good and well they'll will be prepared for whatever comes in his should be prepared because we been so present from his polarizing whatever European absolute is that he has polarizing us while believe it's going to be more of a challenge than you know the D&C, but I think God see MPD will be prepared.
The community will be prepared now we do prepare to and Rock Hill will make sure that Sultan Dutton spent splinter golf and it ends up in Rock Hill so were prepared all the way around. If that happens, but generally all the media attention will be in Charlotte so most likely that will not spread out to other surrounding communities, but you have to be prepared were prepared in Gannett.
I think it will be a challenge. Will you be talking with chief Putney, for example, during the convention just to make sure that any support he may need comes from you in the Rock Hill community. I don't know if I'd be talking directly to him. He has my number and we you know there's been times over the last number of years that I can text him and you know and he'll respond or vice versa, but our staffs work very closely together, even on a daily basis were working with many of the different units in Charlotte, you'd have him when he will call the crime. Here's like a jump in the car and go to the criminals to live there. Up and down 77 we got people live in Charlotte and Rock Hill. Charlotte got people coming up from Rock Hill so our officers in the different units between both organizations are there working together all the time and have a great relationship so and that will continue as again to see MPD works with all the area departments around here and as well as others coming across the nation help you get a minute before the break, having a great question to lead into the break for you would be what you enjoy most about your job what is not is, just there's a sense of accomplishment from from making the community better and there's that personal satisfaction that you you do get to help people. A lot of the I'm doing this to help people, but there so many times it now in the community and I go back and see people that I've actually arrested and they tell me you know you made a difference.
So here that that voices Chris Watts he is the police chief of the thriving community of Rock Hill, South Carolina Chris when we come back let's get into your faith how it intersects some with your calling it to this position and I do think it's a calling from what we thought about it for me. Also this the whole idea. You are a minister of the gospel in where Jesus is called you to be. I'm David Chadwick will be right back when I'm David Chadwick and this is chocolate a 1099.
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And here, what are the responsibilities of a police chief in a thriving rowing community like Rock Hill, Chris.
I'm curious about this when you oversee 200+ people. Is that correct little over 200 okay, who's in that division who were the people you have to oversee, particularly so we have the patrol division. This answering the calls for service. We have a criminal investigations division that are the detectives are narcotics agents are our forensics people that do the crime scene work the computer forensics individuals.
We have a 48 hour holding facility records division of dispatch. We dispatch our ourselves training unit so I have a major that answers directly to me. I have four divisions and four captains patrol division, professional standards, which is higher in internal affairs train and in a technical services which has a jail dispatch all of our technical type things in the department and then CID which is criminal investigations division so each of those four divisions have a captain, then you have lieutenants and under the different units and sergeants and assess, how the chain of command flows and NS count normal for most police departments in Santa Monica will it's interesting that to think about your responsibilities day in day out. Is there ever a day that goes by without a crime I don't think so.
Is it might be minor only Rock Hill's a really safe place.
If you're going about your but business you have anything to worry about if you're involved in criminal activity and out places and times most normal people are just like any community, you can find yourself maybe a victim.
In most places to usually car break-ins every communities chase and those we put them in jail to get right back out. So if you're going to be a victim of a crime is probably going to be a property crime like that you leave your valuables exposed in your unlocked car and that's going to have a lot of very Laura Dr. Harkey valuables out of sight right, Chris. Let me go to your faith.
You were adopted you separately from Charleston your family brought you to Rock Hill. That's been your home for all of your life out when did the Lord become meaningful to you. So again I was raised in a Christian family and and I've always known him, so it six years old. I was at Woodhaven Baptist Church and was part of RA's Roy ambassadors at that time and there was a call to come down and confess your faith and I just had this desire and I went down. I'm sure my pics like what is that boy doing and I remember going down. Yes, I believe him when he missed my Savior and remember one of the deacons took me back to a room and you start to question me. Not a bad way of do you understand this is to make sure your Thursday understood and I did understand, so I never had a real this transformation because of not that I had have struggles but I've never not believed but really my story is in really the faith in and God just really showing himself was me, my wife work. This was the mid-90s.
She was with your kind emergency management over the 911 system at that time I was a detective. I believe just on call her her job.
We were never just built a house to 18 months in his new house was built that we were retiring and we were never together as a family so that time both on my youngest daughter was about 18 months is like this is not working.
What can we do so we started looking at Jill quit work so we did the math didn't work. She made more money than I do. So we really prayed about it in one of the things that it was really clear to us. If you're going to do this, do it right. So we started truly tithe and firstfruits have not. I got this little extra.
And for those that don't know the tithe is 10% drop. Using this years Lord, you owing that I'm to give it to you and we have been faithful with that.
The whole time, but when so we sold out of the house. We had got into a smaller house and it was a struggle from time to time but never we always had our needs met.
And in that year. I think I got employee of the year at $500 check Soviet insurance mean that there's a couple other things you know we got insurance rebate right when we needed it in and I think you said a couple years ago, some to the effective that's one area that you can challenge God we didn't do it. The challenge we did have the faith that he would provide and she stayed home, 13, 14 years till our youngest Nina was either Junior Senior high school sheep at that point she went part time so that was probably this that really for us every time you know we were wondering how we were going to get through this part, it was provided we know it's interesting, it's the only place in the Bible where God ever says to test him as in Malachi chapter 3 and its in the area, finances, and I think it's because we love money, probably more than anything else on this side of eternity. It's God's chief rival God. So he says test me with this 10% deal and just see if I don't meet your every need. Because what he wants to develop and I know you know this. Chris is our faith more than anything else. He wants us to trust him in all areas. So if we can trust with our finances.
I think everything else follows in the line and it sounds like that's what happened to you all, absolutely. There were times it okay as a family we need to pray. You know how are we going to do this and I think it also, showed her you know our kids that we really believed in prayer which we do and I'm you know it us to his parents really mottled. She came from a Christian home, our upbringings were very close and similar. So we were now I guess model and the same thing that our parish model for and in action. Not necessarily words but you know that was, you know, or do we is our faith really there and do we really believe this and and we we never down it again. It was a struggle but he he always came through Philippians 419 says he'll meet our every need, not our every greed and I think that's a huge difference, but he's promised meet our every need, and then when he does, of course, you see the supernatural work and then you have your faith increase.
There was plenty of things I still won't might never have I love to have a airplane pilot is probably not in the cards. But when we do look back and we've never regretted that decision and I think our kids really appreciate it and I was there there young adults and am on out on their own and that you know we have good memories, and as as a family together. Chris Watts, police chief of the thriving Rock Hill, South Carolina community is my guest today, Chris. How does your faith intersect with your responsibilities. Your huge responsibilities as police chief in Rocco.
I think just in your mind of doing loving your neighbor so to speak and and and your neighbor. A lot of times I think people thought unless your actual neighbor know this.
These are our fellow human being. As Jesus was that it is your neighbor. He answered yes. But the whole world turn it right so for me again is a set a really believe in the power of prayer gets me through a lot. There's Nina some struggles that comment just dealing with how my gonna work through this. And sometimes you know you can get, maybe cocky. I'm pretty good right now and and and and you may, in order for me may not be quiet in the same prayer like I should be and it catches up with me word from Bob my view but again just treating people wide in looking from that viewpoint were out here to serve and in I try to preach and in the expect servant leadership from all of our supervisors and even from the officers and you are now Jesus blouse a little consummate servant leader wash people's feet to prove how we should lead right now absolutely. But to get to get just to get through some of the problems I think. Again, prayer is helpful. But having a culture in the police department that were there to serve were were not there to say hey you know, just listen. Everything we do we want to communicate. Yet we need you to do this and this is for your own good, and there's a benefit to and this is a calling you.
Absolutely God won't used to be the police chief in Rock Hill is much as I believe God called me to be a pastor of a church, absolutely. Again, I'm never going to be police officer and then didn't want to be a chief.
It was in the mud toward the inner career, my predecessor, chief John Gregory, who enjoyed working for all the sudden will for me all of a sudden said it's my 40 years and I get rid retire and so I started thinking, well little bit before then you know what's my next step do I want to be achieved for or not soap doors open and again I do believe it's a call. Well it is so much more meaningful in life and you believe that your job is not a job but it's a call right and you're really doing something that is serving the Lord as his instrument of bringing his kingdom, his peace to other people. We come back let's talk about the whole idea of Romans 13 where you're a minister of God's wrath in bringing God's justice to this earth, but that's an important part of your call as well. I'm David Chadwick and we will be right back. Everyone I David Chadwick and this is news talk 11 to 99.
Welcome back to the show. Chris Watts is my guest today. Chris is the police chief of the thriving community of Rock Hill, South Carolina. A major responsibility overseeing 200+ officers and other law enforcement people a Chris such a pleasure having you on the show today and we talked about before we broke a verse in the Bible.
Romans 13 it says that government people are ministers of God's wrath and and that's an interesting idea that a part of your calling. You mentioned in the last segment you really feel like God called you to.
This work is to bring justice, God's justice to people here on earth do you ever look at your calling in that way that you really are an avenger of God's wrath. A person bringing God's justice to this world. In some ways will you know a look at it is that were, stand in the middle of good and evil and our job is really there's the victims out there that need justice and were just task with the job of trying to prevent crime or prevent evil, and then if it happens doing the work, putting it in our system of justice. Putting all the evidence together building that probable calls to say this is the person.
This is the right person in the in bringing a man so that the courts can't hand out the appropriate justice, so I think were part of the system or one part of the system and the whole criminal justice system, but I think we have an important job number one is standing again to make sure evil is not overcoming the good and and in the good people out there doing just one living their daily lives. But so it that is part of it is due in our part in the criminal justice and system to to bring justice really to those victims as people that sometimes had horrific things. I can only imagine it's very satisfying when somebody had a real crime perpetrated against them and you have been an agent of God to help bring that person to justice and then what brings to the victim because a lot of time. That's healing for the victim when they see that they can get away with it absolutely is and take the with the feelings in the hand.
The pain away but there is some sense of okay this person is no longer hopefully will no longer be able to do that. So there it, it's, it's, it does bring part of the closure and help people heal through those those times. What would you say to parents out there who may have children who think all of want to be a police officer or get in the law enforcement unit that's gotten kind of a bad rap. Recently, what would you say to parents if they ask you what, why would I asked my child to consider law enforcement as a vocation.
So in my 31 years I would do it all over again. There was a satisfaction, a challenge and there's a need for every every person brings different skill set to to the world and and you gotta find your purpose and there's plenty of people out there that are suited to do this job so I would encourage especially the people in college he and South Carolina have to be 21 so you can come right out of high school that looked toward that there's there's a purpose and you make such a difference in people's lives that it's a great profession is really come a long way in from technology in just being a true profession in the city in a stuffer example bootlegging fastening the forensics for people today to be able to find truth because of the discovery of how a person is wired absolutely is just it.
Some things we can do is not an hour like it is on CSI on the to have the technology has really really improved and how we do our processes, but is a noble profession.
I was in Boston at Boston University for three weeks this summer and it was the senior management Institute for police that they hold and so most of the professors were from MIT and Harvard and most of them have been doing it for a while. We had one professor and she talked about some of her friends wondered why she was doing this because if you look at salaries for MIT and Harvard. They don't need a summer job, but she said told us is a class one thing done it for six years. There's not another profession that has put more effort and try and do it right that she's aware of in law enforcement are a really quick story along the same lines, I found about at about one, the officers stopped the lady fell on hard times, insurance has lapsed, had kids with her. He called and paid her insurance that is not a unique storefront killed is not a unique story for departments all across the nation really an officer should doing that type of kindness all the time. I talked to a police officer one time and asking what do you do more than anything else and he said I change tires for people along the highway. Would you say that's true. Yes now and a lot of times I don't find out about stuff we would've never found out about this one incident other than the insured, and in those.
These are type people that are getting the law enforcement is not that people are trying to chase down random people and shoot them know these are these are people that care about others and put a lot of effort and go way beyond what they're expected to just make it a better place and help people, but you generally don't. That's not the big new store and it's is that you don't get on television or checking somebody's tire along the interstate when there by the side of the run.
I have no hope that it gets back to almost did this idea that you propose and I think is great Chris that Jesus said in Mark 1045 of the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life away your folks really feel call not to be served is not about their own self aggrandizement is about serving other people and helping other people continue to be who God created to be.
That's absolutely and that's going back to the call and that's why they get in the profession. It's really to help people and try to make a difference in the community and in people say, you know, young. You want to change the world is not going to happen but you sure can change one life make a difference every day.
Generally, law enforcement was someone you give them a moment of hope as we often do is yes edited a good garden that got you can make a positive difference yeah and that's what's so important to realize we really can make a difference in this world, not enough people come up to law enforcement all the time and they say just thank you for what you do and some people think all that's hokey, why do you do that I've heard from police officers that they really enjoy hearing that it means a lot to them.
Is that true absolutely.
It is in is happening all the time it again and I think were talking earlier about how some of the small words of appreciation or think you didn't seem like that big a deal, but absolutely once an officer is at the didn't some to eat, you meet someone comes up just thank you for your service goes a long way also to keep the just the spirits up close and were not dealing with the majority of any community is always animal. Just say 1%. So always that small part of the other segment of society that we deal with in and in and we can get discouraged and when you're dealing with the negative you all the time all the time you can get described in this depressed a bit, so those words make it dimmer makes a big difference. Chris we're ending the show. It's hard to believe you got 10 seconds what would you say to our listeners today regarding your call and law enforcement. I would just say thank you as we just talk. Take a moment just to thank the police officers, first responders, firefighters and EMS.
It makes a difference and just keep Chris Watts police chief of Rock Hill, South Carolina. Thank you for your time and your presence. They on the show. Everyone love God and love your neighbor do those two things have a lifetime's worth of work to do. I'm David Chadwick. This is due to talk 11 1099 WBT talk all