By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — Greg Lamkin, a former sergeant with a police department in a suburb of Houston, Texas, is Boyceville’s new police chief.
Lamkin started in the position several weeks ago.
“I worked for small agencies (in Texas). The advantage of working in a small agency is we got exposed to a little bit of everything,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
“Being a patrol officer in a small agency like that (next to a large urban area), we got well rounded quick. As opposed to the big agencies, you get a robbery, a patrol officer shows up, he calls the robbery division to come out. If you get a homicide, homicide comes out. In a small agency, it was us,” he said.
“Because they were smaller agencies, we were able to be more responsive to the citizens, which I think will serve me well here,” Police Chief Lamkin said, noting that in a smaller community, police officers get to know people and have the ability to address issues rather than only responding to a particular incident and then going on to respond to the next incident.
Lamkin was born in Tennessee and grew up in Texas.
“My dad was in the Air Force. He just retired last October from NASA – forty-six years in the aerospace industry,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
Lamkin’s in-laws live in Illinois. And the Lamkins homeschool their children.
“We looked for states that are homeschool friendly and with solid public retirement system. The taxes are lower here. The cost of living is lower,” he said, noting that living in Wisconsin also puts them closer to his wife’s parents.
“We frequently checked the state’s website for law enforcement jobs, and when this one posted at the end of January, it interested me,” he said.
Police Chief Lamkin had been a sergeant running a shift with six officers, so he says coming to Boyceville is not that much of a difference.
The Houston metropolitan area has a population of 6.5 million. The population of the entire state of Wisconsin could fit into the Houston area.
“I had a 22 mile commute to work, and even at five in the morning, there were a ton of cars out there,” Police Chief Lamkin noted.
“My kids are excited. We are excited. We wanted to get somewhere more down to earth, with a slower pace of life, where we can enjoy. Honestly, in Houston, we had a zoo 45 minutes across town. In 45 minutes here, I can get to St. Paul. We shop on the Internet as much as anybody else. It took 15 to 20 minutes to drive to Target or Wal-Mart, and it’s not that much different here,” he said.
“I got into this business because I enjoyed the public service aspect. I enjoy helping people. And in a smaller town you can connect with and help people,” he said.
“Being a cop is being a cop. You get the same stuff …it happens everywhere. But it’s not the volume. My advantage in coming from the city, is I’ve seen the volume, I’ve seen the wide diversity. So when I see it here, it won’t be the first time I’ve seen it,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
The Lamkins have two children, a son who is thirteen and a half, and a daughter who is eight and a half. And next month, he and his wife will celebrate their sixteenth wedding anniversary.
“She grew up in the Midwest, and she’s looking forward to seeing winter again … I tend not to let the weather bother me. If it’s cold, you layer up some more. If it’s hot, you do what you need to do and then get out of the heat,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
Lamkin says he remembers the summer they were married in Illinois. It was 85 degrees with 70 percent humidity.
“People were like — it’s so hot! And we’re like — really? Talk to us when it’s 105 with 100 percent humidity and a heat index of 115,” he recalled.
“On all levels, our family was ready for a change. And the way things lined up … we knew it was meant to be,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
For example, a week after he was offered the position in Boyceville, they received a cash offer for their house in Texas.
“As a family, we are looking forward to getting settled in here. Professionally, I am really enjoying meeting the people of the community … everyone I’ve met has been awesome at offering all kinds of help,” he said.
Police Chief Lamkin says he has taken the opportunity to drive around and meet people in the community, although he says he has not yet been out as much as he would like to be.
“But it’s been noted. And people have said they’re happy to see the police chief out and about. I’m looking forward to getting in, getting settled and getting the staffing done so we can get out there and combat a few problems, be seen and be involved,” he said.
“Small villages like having their own police department so they can have somebody to address long-term issues,” Police Chief Lamkin added.
“I’ve done the field training. I’ve been a sergeant. Like I told the (village) board, my favorite memories of law enforcement have been watching the guys come up as rookies that I trained. (For example) one is a detective, and another one is going up for his first sergeant’s position,” he said.
Lamkin is an Eagle Scout. He attended Texas A&M, and his dad also went to Texas A&M. When his parents moved in 1983 to the town where Greg Lamkin grew up, the population was 13,000.
Now, he says, it’s 120,000. The police department had 23 officers in 1983, and now there are 160 officers.
“After three years of architecture school, I decided I liked my girlfriend a whole lot more than I liked school. We got married. I went to work for the jail in the sheriff’s office. Worked in booking. Went to the police academy and got my first police job,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
One of his first actions as police chief was to buy a web domain for the Boyceville police department and post an update on the department’s Facebook page.
The e-mail addresses will be the officer’s first initial and last name @boycevillepd.com.
“That way, people can contact an individual officer, and it will give us better communication with the public,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
“I went to the end of school assembly (at Boyceville), and I actually got applauded and cheered by the kids. I’m used to getting yelled at by the kids! I went to DARE graduation. It’s nice to do things like that. To get to see people,” he said.
Programs like DARE and the Explorer Posts, “they go a long ways. It’s not Chief Lamkin — he pulled my mom over. It’s more like, ‘oh yeah, Chief Greg, he was at my meeting last week.’ It humanizes us a little bit and makes us more approachable. As those kids get older, first off, they might think twice (about doing something they shouldn’t). It might hold them a little more accountable. And as they get older, it’s not the police and them. We are as much a part of the community as they are,” Police Chief Lamkin said.
And for Police Chief Lamkin, that’s what the job is all about: community.