Gadsden State swears in first chief of police


Jay Freeman, the new chief of police at Gadsden State, speaks during his swearing-in ceremony. Submitted photo.

Jay Freeman was sworn in as the first chief of police at Gadsden State Community College during a ceremony Friday, September 29, attended by faculty and staff, family members and local community leaders.

“Jay is making history today at Gadsden State as our first chief of police,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, Gadsden State  president. “I don’t think it’s hard to understand why we decided to form a police department and hire Jay Freeman as our chief.

“We simply can’t be too careful when it comes to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Freeman took the reins as chief of police on July 3. He currently oversees a total of 19 employees working for the Gadsden State Police and Public Safety Department.

“Jay hit the ground running the moment he arrived on campus,” Murphy said. “I am excited about the progress we are making. I want to thank him for accepting this challenge.”

Etowah County district judge Joe Nabors complimented Freeman for his work ethic.

“Jay is an amazing individual that has a calming presence,” he said.

“He’s a man of integrity and a man of faith. I’m proud to call him my friend and I’m proud that he is the chief of police at Gadsden State.”

District Attorney Jody Willoughby led Freeman in the reading of the oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony. The new chief was joined by his wife, Laura Champion Freeman, and their daughters, Parker Kate, 11; Lennyn Grace, 6; and Ellie Jay, 4.

“It’s a great honor to be here today,” he said. “I’m excited about being the chief of police. I’m dedicated to the excellence at this college.”

Freeman pledged to be transparent and accountable. He also said his goals are to increase technology, invest in the employees who work for the department and create partnerships that will lead Gadsden State to being a training hub for local law enforcement.

“I hold myself to the highest standards,” Freeman said. “I don’t believe in short cuts. I have always been taught to treat others with respect and that’s what I do. Respect is the cornerstone of any community.”

Freeman gave credit for his engrained love of community service to his grandmother, Janet Gregerson.

“I always saw her treating others with respect,” he said. “She was always helping others. She is the definition of a lady of service.”

Through her, he realized that kind words, a helping hand and encouragement go a long way.

“Every person has a story,” he said. “Every person has things going on in their life. At the end of the day, we need to do what’s right. Any small gesture can make a huge difference in the lives of others.”

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