Kelli McCall has several “honey-dos” ready.
And her husband now has the time to do them.
Chris McCall officially retired from the Hobbs Police Department on Thursday, ending a 20-plus year career, with the past 6 1/2 years as police chief. He was the 24th police chief in HPD’s 90-year history.
The third-floor conference room of the City Hall Annex building was full of decorations, food and representatives from the City of Hobbs, Lea County, family and long-time friends who wanted to congratulate McCall on his next assignment in life. In a ceremony full of laughter and tears, McCall was given a proper sendoff.
Acting City Manager Manny Gomez, who has served with the Hobbs Fire Department in many of McCall’s years with HPD, spoke to McCall’s professionalism to his job and needed about 10 minutes to read a timeline of McCall’s time at HPD.
“(He) has applied himself diligently to the City of Hobbs, to the citizens of this great community and to HPD,” said Gomez.
McCall mentioned Gomez’s comments about the past 6 1/2 years and the credit McCall received for the department’s success. McCall said he isn’t the only one who deserves attention.
“I tell you as I look around this room the people who are truly responsible for those accomplishments are sitting in this room,” McCall said. “It wasn’t me doing those things, it was others. The department is responsible for everything that is occurred. We work hard together, we work as a team and I am proud to say we have accomplished a lot in the last 6 1/2 years and I think bright things are on the horizon for the Hobbs Police Department going forward.”
A Lovington High School graduate, McCall started as a rookie with the Texas Tech University Police Department in 1997. He joined the Hobbs Police Department in February 1999 as a patrolman, moved to field training officer, sergeant and then lieutenant. He served as deputy chief from 2010-2013 and interim police chief before his promotion to chief of police in February 2013.
“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my professional career to meet some great law enforcement practitioners and many of you are sitting here today,” Gomez said to the audience, “but I will tell you Chief McCall is one of the most forward thinking, progressive, intelligent law enforcement officials I have ever met. (McCall) has raised the bar at 6-foot-7, but he also has very large shoes to fill.”
Mayor Sam Cobb then read a proclamation from the New Mexico Senate on McCall’s career of service. Other speakers were HPD officer Teresa Grady who read a poem, Deputy Brian Dunlap, who read a letter from retired HPD officer Charles Cunningham who could no attend the ceremony; and from Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton, who, as he stood up to speak, started by saying, “Now we can talk about the Chris I know.”
“I am proud of you Chris. Congratulations,” Helton told McCall. “Ninety percent of my career you and Brian (Dunlap) were involved in and that’s some of the things I will never forget. Good luck to you. I am always around. God Bless your family for putting up with this for 20 years.”
McCall started his speech by giving Kelli, and their daughter Hailey, each a bouquet of flowers.
“I think I need to thank two of the most important people in my life for all the things they have sacrificed for me in the last 20 years,” McCall said. “Kelli and Hailey, thank you both very much for all things you have put up with. For all the nights when I left home in the middle of the night and the days when I missed birthday, volleyball games and track meets and soccer games. All the separations and everything that we had to plan our life around, we can now plan it as we want. Thank you, you two girls, for all that you have done for me.”
As for that list of “honey-dos” Kelli McCall is planning, she has the intent of waiting a while longer.
“That’s the plan, after he rests for quite a while,” Kelli McCall said. “I told him he has to have four weeks, at least. I don’t think he will be able to sit still that long. He can go play some golf and maybe mow the lawn every now and then. That would be perfect.”