After 27 years of service with the Elkin Police Department, Captain Jeff Poteate will be hanging up his badge when he retires on Friday, June 29.
Beginning in 1985, Poteate started in Elkin as a dispatcher, climbing the ranks to patrol officer and then community service sergeant where he taught D.A.R.E. for Elkin City Schools.
“I think it’s an excellent program,” he said. “It allows for children to develop a relationship with the law enforcement in a positive way and tells them that they don’t have to resort to drugs and alcohol. Someone has to tell them that drugs are no solutions, they only start problems.”
Poteate was then promoted to captain, which at the time was the head of investigations, but involved into administration.
But Poteate’s police career is not what brought him to Elkin.
Born in Wilkes County, he grew up in Baton, N.C. in Caldwell County. He attended police school at Western Piedmont and was sworn in as an officer at age 20 Lenoir, N.C. in 1977.
“I was sworn in as an officer when I was 20 years old, but you can’t buy a gun until you are 21,” Poteate laughed. “I had to get a note from my chief to be able to go buy a gun.”
He worked in Lenoir for four years and started to think about getting out of the law enforcement field. Poteate and his wife moved to Elkin to be closer to her family and so he could started a career in air craft.
“I had planned on going to air craft school, but the school closed down,” he said. “There was an opening at the Elkin Police Department so I applied and have been here ever since.”
As his career at Elkin Police Department comes to a close, Poteate says he feels ‘bittersweet’ about leaving but already knows how he will fill his free time, including volunteering more at his church, Elkin Valley Baptist Church and traveling around the United States with his wife.
“I’m going to do a whole lot of things,” he said. “But not a lot of any one thing.”
Reach Jessica Pickensat 835-1513 ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org