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Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill received a big sendoff Friday at the Texan from friends and those who worked alongside him in his almost 30 years with the department.

City Manager Elizabeth Borstad said Hill recently mentioned to her that he had spent his entire adult life with the Athens Police Department.

"I think the City of Athens and the citizens of Athens all appreciate you in your 29-plus years of service," Borstad said. "You just don't find that with police anymore."

Pam Burton, who was City Manager for many of Hill's years at APD, and Borstad presented Hill a watch commemorating his work. 

"It's been my pleasure to know Buddy his whole life," Burton said. "I remember when he was a little red-headed boy who ran around with his mother. I really respect Buddy. He's done a good job for the city and he's still so young."

State Representative Keith Bell gave Hill a certificate from the Texas House of Representatives in honor of his time at the helm of APD.

"It's just amazing for a person to spend this much time at one location," Bell said. "It's commended, the loyalty."

Hill said the his family has been there to support him during his service to APD.

"You know the life of a law enforcement officer is tough and it's especially tough on his family," Hill said. 

Hill thanked the City of Athens and the people who served in the police department during his tenure to make it the success it was.

"I get compliments all the time out in the public," Hill said. "I tell them It's not me, I'm just a person. It's the men and women who are working the shifts. They are the ones who are out there, day in and day out, and they'e the ones who deserve the praise and recognition."

Now, more than ever, law enforcement needs the support of the public, Hill said.

He was congratulated by Assistant Chief Rodney Williams III who is now interim as the city searches for a permanent chief.

Hill's APD days may be over, but his career will pick up again soon as he takes a job as investigator with the Henderson County District Attorney's Office.

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