CNHI News Service
Reading a list of Troy Rich’s Thomasville Police Department (TPD) positions since he joined the agency 24 years ago, one would surmise Rich’s rapid climb to the top was no accident.
Rich, who will assume duties of Thomasville police chief on July 1, said it was his ambition to become a leader and supervisor.
“I want to inspire,” he said. “I want to be in a position to make a difference.”
Prior to joining TPD in October 1990, the New Jersey native worked in heavy construction in New York City and served three years in the U.S. Army.
Fellow New Jerseyan Chris Mullins and Rich have been best friends since the age of 9. Mullins migrated to Thomasville in search of career opportunities and joined TPD. Mullins encouraged Rich to join him, saying he thought his friend would make a good cop. Rich came to Thomasville, took a TPD test and emerged as the No. 1 candidate for the next opening.
Although he did not have a TPD job, Rich moved to Thomasville in September 1990. He was hired as a patrol officer a month later.
He later served as a narcotics agent, police bike team sergeant, a lieutenant watch commander, a captain and criminal investigations commander. Since 2007, he has been assistant police chief.
Mullins returned to New Jersey in 1996, to raise his daughter. He returned to TPD two years ago and was sworn in by Rich.
Four years ago, Rich came in contact with another former New Jersey acquaintance — his soon-to-be wife. Rich and Tricia knew each other growing up in Keansburg, N.J., on the Central Jersey Shore. While serving in the army, Rich returned home on leave in 1985, and dated Tricia. Several months later, he was shipped overseas. The romance ended.
Twenty-four years later, in May 2010, the two reconnected through social media. They were married four months later in an Amelia Island, Fla., ceremony.
Mrs. Rich, who completed nursing school in Thomasville, is a registered nurse employed in the cardiac unit at Archbold Memorial Hospital.
Rich, 48, has reached every goal he set for himself in education, training and a career. “I would say I am at the pinnacle of my career,” he explained.
Rich received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Thomas University and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University.
He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, 210th Session. He graduated from the Georgia Command College, Class 23, in 2007, and the Police Chief Executive Training, Class 11-14, in 2011.
Rich’s experience and proven record of leadership to the city make him the prime candidate for the chief position, said Steve Sykes, city manager/utilities superintendent.
Rich’s counterpart, Thomas County Sheriff Carlton Powell, agreed Rich has vast experience and has worked hard to reach the chief position.
“This is a very special place in the world,” Powell said. “It’s got really, really great citizens. He’s got a tremendous opportunity to build a résumé for himself here.”
The sheriff said that as police chief Rich is “no longer one of the boys. The ball is in his court to lead.”
Said Powell, “Law enforcement is not all about locking people up, but seeing how many people you can keep from locking up.”
Rich said his FBI Academy training was the footprint for putting him where he is, and the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College at Columbus University validated his capabilities to become a police chief.
The new chief said he will listen to the police organization — 59 sworn officers and seven civilians — and give fellow employees an opportunity to present ideas and suggestion to him.
Rich has a master plan he will implement at the appropriate time.
“Until then, we will continue to build on success in this organization,” he explained. “The department will continue to grow in ethics, professionalism and high standards on a daily basis.”
TPD officers are expected to exceed community expectations.
“The community always comes first,” Rich said.
He is grateful to the city council and city manager for their confidence in him to protect the community.
Rich said former TPD chiefs set and built a foundation for the agency, and he considers it his duty to continue to build and to strive for excellence.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier an be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.