PILOT MOUNTAIN — Captain Michael Palmer’s badge and weapon have officially been retired by Pilot Mountain’s board of commissioners.
The vote came during the last commissioners meeting on March 13.
Palmer was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016, and was unable to return to work, according to Police Chief Darryl Bottoms.
Palmer began his career with the Pilot Mountain Police Department on July 1, 1988. At the time, he was 20 years old.
“I knew they were hiring, so I went to talk to the chief, I applied and he hired me and they sent me to school and the rest was history,” joked Palmer.
At the time Palmer explained he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do nor was he sure he would enjoying being a police officer.
Over the years, Palmer said that he quickly grew to love the job.
“When you first start out and your young going out and charging people, making arrests and writing as many citations as you can is the most important thing,” stated Palmer.
“However, to me it became about changing lives. Helping people and helping them try to change for the better.”
Palmer also spoke briefly about how difficult the job has become over the past few years.
“Society has changed, people have changed,” said Palmer. “Things have gotten harder with people out there who hate police officers and want to hurt them.”
Those obstacles never deterred Palmer from his duties, however.
Being a public servant is something that Palmer’s superior, Bottoms ,described him as. “Palmer was as dependable, reliable, a person you can always count.”
Over the years, Palmer worked his way to captain. “After about five years of being a patrol officer I was promoted to lieutenant, then after about 20 years, I was promoted to captain,” said Palmer.
Throughout that course of time Palmer emphasized how much he admired the folks he has worked with.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years and they are all really good people. They really cared about their jobs and look after one another.”
Mayor Dwight Atkins stated in a previous interview that Palmer, “has always been apart of the community.”
Palmer is a graduate from East Surry High School. Palmer was married in 1994 to Sue Palmer, the father of two children and one granddaughter.