When Todd Hinnant was growing up in Lee County, he knew what career path he wanted to take.

“I always, since I was younger, knew that I wanted to be in law enforcement,” Hinnant said in a recent phone interview.

And now, 30 years later, Hinnant is retiring, stepping away from his job as chief of the Broadway Police Department, a post he’s held since 2006. He will leave in December.

“We hate to see him go, but we knew it was coming,” Mayor Donald Andrews said recently. “People like him.”

Hinnant, 52, a 1987 graduate of Lee County High School, began his law enforcement career with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in the early 1990s.

He held several posts during the administration of former Sheriff Billy Bryant before taking a job in Broadway under the leadership of then-Chief George Bates.

Hinnant credited both men with helping him in his career path.

“I’ve been very blessed,” Hinnant said.

The retiring chief has been a leader for the Police Department, Andrews said. He credits Hinnant with updating the department technology.

“When I first started,” Hinnant said, “we had only one computer and a telecommunicator. Now every patrol car has one. They (officers) write tickets with them, they write up warrants and do searches with them. They do everything with the computer.”

The department currently has four full-time officers and four reserve officers. Hinnant believes more officers are going to be needed in the future.

“We’re growing as a community,” Hinnant said. “There’s a lot more houses being built and we’re starting to see growth in the industrial area. “It will have to grow. It needs to grow,” he said.

Hinnant believes that the officers should treat people like they want to be treated and he has worked to instill that philosophy with new officers.

“You work for the people,” Hinnant said.

He also singled out former Town Manager Dustin Kornegay and current manager Eddie Thomas, who has announced his retirement at the end of the year as well.

“They’ve helped me so much,” Hinnant said.

In retirement, Hinnant wants to spend more time with his family including his wife, Alice; his daughter, Kayla; and his son, Kyle; and grandson Coleman.

“I’m going to miss the people and the people I work with in law enforcement,” Hinnant said.

Andrews said Hinnant will be missed.

“He’s done a great job for the town,” Andrews said. “He’s going to be missed, but he’s earned the right to retire.”