Good luck, J.D.

Great relationship at top of police department beneficial for city

No, “Lieutenant” is not his first name. It only seems that way. J. D. Newlin’s last day on the Rockdale Police Department was Friday. He was honored with a well-attended reception at the police station.

Newlin was hired, as a sergeant, in early 2000. Just a few months later Thomas Harris came on board as chief and the two have worked together here ever since.

Both came to the Rockdale PD from the Milam County Sheriff’s Department where they were deputy sheriffs.

To say the duo, working together, brought stability to the PD is an understatement. The chief before Harris stayed on the job just 15 months. That working together spirit has been beneficial to Rockdale.

Something else has been beneficial to Rockdale, too. A month after Harris became chief, Newlin became the police contact, and spokesman, to the media for all police-related news. The Reporter’s first police report quoting then-Sgt. Newlin was Sept. 7, 2000.

What has developed over the years has been a law enforcement-media relationship of which any community would be proud.

Newlin has been accommodating to the press in understanding deadlines and working through the sometimes complex issues of right-to-know vs. law enforcement doing its job.

On the other hand, The Reporter has recognized the police department’s obvious need to continue investigations without tipping their hand by printing everything they know for a potential suspect to read. And possibly skip town.

That doesn’t mean Newlin ever refused to divulge information, either. It’s sometimes been “this is what we know A-B-C-D; it would help if we don’t say C in the paper until next week, but use your own judgment.”

That’s rare. It’s called trust and it goes both ways. It was also much appreciated.—M.B.

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