By Crystal Burns
Sleet and snow couldn’t keep retiring Trenton Police Chief Will Sanders’ department from honoring him with a reception at his church on Friday.
Officers, city officials, friends, and well-wishers gathered at First Presbyterian Church to congratulate Sanders on 41 years with the department, 19 of them as chief.
Mayor Ricky Jackson was an alderman on the city council when Sanders was appointed chief in 1988.
“[He] came on board and helped stabilize the department,” Jackson said. “Chief didn’t have an easy job. He’s done well. We will replace Chief Sanders in person, but we will lose the experience that he will take with him.”
Jackson presented Sanders with a plaque and his duty weapon.
Rev. Paul Tucker, who has served as Sanders’ pastor for the past eight years, complimented his and his wife Darla’s service to their church family.
“You have to have church members like Will and Darla,” Tucker said.
Sanders served two, three-year terms on the Board of Deacons and is currently a ruling elder, which Tucker said is one of the highest honors in the Presbyterian church. He said members trusted Sanders with the responsibility because of his willingness to serve others.
“Will is a servant,” Tucker said. “He will help anybody do anything.”
State Rep. Curtis Halford presented Sanders with a proclamation from the General Assembly citing his numerous achievements as an officer and chief with the Trenton department.
“He’s been a good friend to the community, the county, and the state,” Halford said.
Assistant Police Chief Jeff McCoy represented the Trenton PD in offering Sanders heartfelt gratitude and good wishes for the future.
“It’s been a ride we’ve enjoyed,” McCoy said. “You’ve been a great leader, and we wish you the best.”
Officers gave Sanders a handmade wooden flag from The Rustic Flag Company in Trenton that featured a special “torn-in” design of the Trenton police shield with Sanders’ name and the dates of his career with the department. They also gave Sanders a card that McCoy joked contained something to help him start his fishing career.
In an emotional statement, Sanders thanked his wife and children, church family, law enforcement colleagues, city officials, and Trenton citizens. He announced his retirement on Dec. 27 and starts his new job as a part-time security officer at the federal courthouse in Jackson this week.
“I’ve never walked into another door so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.