-m t Ti THE BRUNSWlCICftlEACON D^)
Lil lLBcl LI lt> oLII 1 ^
Police Chief's Retirement
Ends Era At Holden Beach
BY DOUG RUTTKK
Raymond Simpson, a fixture in the Holdcn Beach
Police Department, retired as chief tliis week af
ter more than 15 years on the force.
"1 think we're losing the Andy Griffith of Holdcn
Beach," said Gil Bass, who has worked closely with
Simpson over the years as a town official and business
Bass said he will miss Simpson's common sense
and humane approach to law enforcement, which often
reminded him of the mythical Maybcrry sheriff.
"I mean that as the highest form of a compliment,"
Bass said. "He has worked with a few Barney Fife's,
Simpson, who turned 64 years old in September,
has been loved by some and criticized by others
throughout his lengthy career at Holdcn Bcach. He was
to have been recognized with a retirement party
Wednesday at town hall to which the entire town was
Like a lot of other folks who end up living at
Holdcn Bcach, Simpson at one time was a frequent visi
tor. He first vacationed at the bcach in 1945.
He married his present wife,
Betty, at the Holdcn Beach Chapel on
Aug. 14, 1976, and was sworn in as a
town officer two weeks later.
Simpson, who has worked at
Holdcn Bcach longer than any other
town employee, said his hiring was a
classic ease of opportunity knocking.
"1 always used to kid the chief if
he ever wanted a good man let me
know," Simpson recalled. "One
morning he came to my house in
High Point and asked me if I wanted
a job at Holdcn Beach. 1 took it."
Bill Hill was policc chief at
Holdcn Bcach when Simpson was
hired 15 years and four months ago.
The two full-time officers and one auxiliary made
up the town's police force at that lime. Hill and
Simpson used to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a
Simpson was promoted to sergeant in 1977 and
lieutenant in 1978 before becoming policc chief April
Hie police department now has six full-time offi
cers. "Like everything else around here, it's improved a
lot," Simpson said of the force.
Simpson admits he's seen a lot of changes in the po
lice department and the cuaslai resort community since
he started working there Aug. 28, 1976.
fhere arc about 1,(XX) more houses on the beach
than there were 15 years ago, which means more work
for the policc department.
"Every time you build another house that means an
other place you've got to watch," Simpson said.
The addition of houses has drawn more permanent
residents to the beach, and a lot more seasonal visitors.
The eight-mile island is often packed with more
than 10,000 people during the summer holiday week
Simpson said dealing with all of the people has
been one of the most challenging parts of the job over
the years, but also one of the most pleasurable.
"We have people here from all walks of life and
from all over the country," he said. 'That's another
thing that makes the job interesting. You meet new peo
ple every year, but still see a lot of same faces."
The greatest improvement, in his opinion, was the
" Every time you
place you ve got
Retired Police Chief
construction of the high-rise bridge to the island. It re
placed a swing bridge in May 1986.
"Every Easter weekend that bridge would break
down," Simpson said. "It would always break down on
the holidays and the biggest weeks of the tourist sea
Hurricanes also kept the chief's job interesting.
Simpson said returning to the island has always been
worse than the evacuation.
"Our hurricanes excite everybody," he said. "It's such
a problem checking all the people, especially before we
started using the stickers. "TTiey used to have to bring a
deed or something showing they owned property."
Simpson said his saddest experience at Holden
Beach occurred about five years ago, when a young girl
was struck and killed by an automobile driven by a
friend that was coming to visit.
The chief also said drug smuggling was a major
problem when he first started working at Holden Beach.
"Shrimp boats used to come in one behind the oilier
carrying dope," he said. "The drug enforcement has im
proved 100 percent."
Simpson's time at Holden Beach hasn't been with
out lis rough spots. One of the town's
officers was arrested for dealing drags
in his early years as chicf.
"That put a black mark on every
other officer and the department,"
Simpson recalled. "It don't ever go
away, it just gets deeper."
Simpson's lengthy term of em
ployment at Holdcn Beach is unusual
for a small-town police department.
Most officers at places like
Holden Beach stay just long enough
to learn the system and gel some ex
perience under their belts before mov
ing on to larger departments which of
fer more opportunity for advance
Simpson said he doesn't really know how he man
aged lo slay at Holden Beach for so long.
"I've tried to treat people as I wanted lo be treated,
and do my job," he said. "It doesn't cost you anything
to be nice to people as long as they'll let you."
Kenner Amos, who was mayor when Simpson was
hired at Holden Beach, said his long-time friend
brought a "home-spun humor" to the job and always
knew how to get along with his officers.
"He was the best public relations person I've ever
seen in my life," Amos added. "He was completely un
selfish and always put the town first."
Simpson worked with the Guilford County Sheriff's
Department about five years before joining the Holden
Prior to getting involved in police work, he owned
and operated a heating and air-conditioning business for
"Twenty years is enough on any job," he said. "I'm
going to try 20 years of retirement ? plus."
Simpson says he has mixed emotions about turning
in his badge after so many years in law enforcement.
"I'm going to miss it, but not as much as if I was
leaving the bcach," he said. "I've made a lot of friends
since I've been here, and maybe some enemies loo."
Simpson said he won't be spending his "golden
years" in a rocking chair. He's had several part-time
jobs offered, and plans to wet a line or two.
"I can't sit around and do nothing," he said. "I
haven't fished in six years. I hope to get back to fishing
some. I love to fish."
The Brunswick Hospital
is pleased to announce
the association of
Samuel W. Kirtley, M.D.
in the practice of
Brunswick Islands Medical Associates, P.A.
South Brunswick Islands Medical Park
Junction of Hwy. 17 and Union School Road
Now accepting appointments
STAf F Photo by DOUG ?UTTt?
since I9H2, retired this week after more than 15
RAYMOND SIMPSON, police chief at 1 1 olden Beach
years on the force.
Moravian Star Light omy$1995
SHOP UPSTAIRS FROM NOW TIL CHRISTMAS!
UPSTAIRS OPEN THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS 3-9 PM,
SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS 9 AM-9 PM
NEW SHIPMENT FOR FALL!
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP AT
YOUR MORE FOR CHRISTMAS STORE!
HOLDEN BEACH CAUSEWAY-842-2699
OPEN 8 AM-8 PM 7 DAYS A WEEK
Gift Ideas, Including
Women's Plus Sizes
Sweaters, Pants, Tops
and Jogging Suits
All The Famous Names
You Know Are Here:
Rusty, O'Neil, Instinct,
G&S, and Duck Head.
Shark-Free Style Watches
Men's a vVft
Debbie Hager models a jogging suit while
looking over the large collection.
Steven Hager looks sharp in his Billabonq
tlWt THE BRUNSWICK BEACON