Bob Adams was in the middle of his freshman season on the basketball team in 1967 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock when he married his wife, Jean. However, Adams was constantly traveling, and even though he had a full scholarship, it was difficult to provide for his family.
“I’d be gone for long periods of time,” Adams said, “and I’d still have to provide and put food on the table.”
Adams said he decided to look for a job, and he just so happened to know a captain with the Little Rock Police Department.
“He was from Banks as well, and he talked me into applying for the cadet program,” Adams said, “and that was the beginning of my law enforcement career.”
Adams, who has served as the chief of police for the Sheridan Police Department for the past 10 years, recently announced his plans to retire on July 21. The date is of significance because it marks 10 years exactly since he was hired in 2008.
“He has a calm demeanor, and he has such a good rapport with the general public,” Sheridan Mayor Joe C. Wise Jr. said of Adams. “I have never seen anybody that he couldn’t talk to.
“I honestly hate to see him retire.”
Wise said that as chief, Adams has definitely “had his hands full because Sheridan is a unique size of town.”
“In terms of school district, it is a 3A-size town with a 6A school district,” Wise said. “Our population more than doubles during the school year.”
He said that during the most recent federal census, Sheridan had 4,623 residents, plus a 4,400-student population.
“So our population increases substantially,” he said.
Adams quit basketball and began working at the Little Rock Police Department in 1967. He retired from the department in December 1990 to serve as sheriff for the city of Sheridan in 1991. Ten years later, he was elected to the state Legislature.
“During that period of time, I was still certified as an auxiliary officer, and I worked for the prosecuting attorney’s office,” Adams said. “I also worked for the sheriff’s office as an investigator.”
He applied and was hired as Sheridan chief of police when the position opened in summer 2008.
“Knowing his character, he is honest, dependable and a loyal person,” Wise said. “I have always had high confidence in Bob and his abilities.
“He has never let me down or done anything that I didn’t agree with.”
Adams graduated from Banks High School in south Arkansas in 1966 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1970. His original intention was to be a coach, but he said he got sidetracked when he started working for the Police Department.
“My last semester in school, I was a student teacher for a Pulaski County Special School District school,” Adams said. “I was also coaching for a year while I was still with the Little Rock Police Department.
“I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I enjoyed working at the Police Department and the experience, but I wanted to see if that’s what I wanted to do.”
Adams said he eventually weighed the two of them and decided to say in law enforcement.
“When you get into law enforcement, you are there to help people,” Adams said. “I enjoyed opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives, and it was rewarding personally to see some of your work that actually made a difference in someone’s life.”
Adams, who is a member of Little Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Sheridan, said his faith has played a large part in his career.
“I was the youngest guy who ever worked for the Investigative Division at the Little Rock Police Department,” Adams said. “And back in the 1970s, you could talk to people and make an attempt to lead someone to Christ.
“You could talk to them about the bad decisions they made and how they could turn their life around. I can recall one young man, we had a long sit-down and talk — about what he wanted out of life and what his future would be if he continued down this path and what it could be if he turned his life around. And he did that and became successful.”
Adams said the young man did his time, but when he was released, Adams kept up with him and his progress.
“It is just rewarding to see sometimes it does make a difference,” he said.
Adams graduated from the FBI Academy in 1994 and was one of the first members of the Little Rock Police Department’s SWAT team.
“Graduating from the academy was a big memory and accomplishment for me,” Adams said, “walking across the stage and shaking hands with the director of the FBI.”
Adams said technology has been one of the biggest changes to law enforcement in his career.
“There are a lot of tools that technology has provided,” he said. “DNA was never even heard of or thought of when I first started, and it has been a real positive tool for law enforcement.
“Internet stalking and crimes that the internet has brought about — that, of course, is negative. But there has also been a lot of good. It just depends on how people want to use it.
“For every good thing, I think there is a bad thing that comes with it.”
Adams said he believed “it was just his time to retire.”
“I have seen guys who have worked for 30 to 40 years and pass away while they were still working,” Adams said. “I want to have a little bit of time to enjoy my retirement.”
He said he plans to spend more time with his 10 grandchildren, whose ages range from 2 to 25 years old.
“Some of them are grown now. I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I’m hoping to get to spend with the younger ones,” Adams said. “I just want to spend more quality time with them.
“The one blessing that I do have, all my children and my grandchildren still live right here; they are not a great distance away. They are all here in Grant County.”
He said he also plans to start fishing again, but he said it has been so long that he might not remember how.
“It has been 20 or 30 years since I have fished around here,” Adams said.
He said one of the biggest things he is going to miss is the camaraderie among officers and other co-workers.
“I’ll also miss the structure of getting up at a certain time and knowing exactly where I am going to be at a certain time,” Adams said.
Wise said the city has started advertising the position to replace Adams and will accept applications until May 31.
“I hate to see him go, but I understand,” Wise said.
Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 244-4314 firstname.lastname@example.org.