Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley knew from a young age he wanted to be a police officer and make a change.
“So, I was a kid and had a few traffic stops with local officers while I was in high school. I was stopped one night by an officer with the PD and the stop did not go well. I was underwhelmed with his contact style,” said Hundley. “About a month later, I was stopped by a DPS Trooper and I could see real quick that there was a way to get your point across without being a jerk. That was pretty much the turning point for me and a template for what I wanted to do. I felt we needed more people like that Trooper in law enforcement. I wanted to be the good guy.”
And that sentiment of wanting to be a “good guy” still holds true to this day as he celebrates 45-years with the Paris Police Department.
Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Hundley said his father was in the newspaper business so the family moved often between Oklahoma and Texas. In 1964, his sister, who was a senior at Denison High School at the time, passed away, and not long after the family moved to Paris.
“I think we moved to Paris for my parents to have a different location. I remember my mom, Barbara telling dad there wouldn’t be any more moving around until I finished high school.”
In 1971, Hundley graduated from Paris High School, and in January of 1975, he went to work for the Tyler Police Department.
“When I started, a police officer did not have to attend a police academy before getting on the street. You were hired in, provided your own handgun and equipment, got in a car with a senior officer, and hit the streets,” explained Hundley. “The academy was all of 6 weeks when I did attend in November of 1975 in Kilgore, Texas. “
“I was a bit naïve and had ideas of how a police officer should conduct themselves. The first officer I rode with had been a cop for 17 years. He was low key, confident, and knew what he was doing. I was with him for a couple of months and did really well. The next guy I rode with had not been an officer all that long. I think he was unimpressed with me and I was certainly unimpressed with him. I resigned and came back to Paris.”
Over the past 45-years, Hundley certainly has witnessed many highs and lows our community has had to endure; some that will stick with him forever.
“Out of everything I’ve been involved in, the children involved cases are the hardest to work through. They are the most innocent of the innocent and how people can do things to a kid is beyond me,” he said. “The biggest experience was during the tornado of 1982 when we all were the best we could be during a horrible event. Taking care of hurt people, stopping some thefts, and a long time on duty.”
And despite all the good (and bad) he has seen over the years, Hundley still has a deep love for Paris, Texas.
“It’s the people. Paris is home to some of the most caring people I know of. Any kind of a cause or a need these people are there to help, volunteer, or help you in any way.”
On August 10, 2009, Hundley was promoted to Paris Chief of Police and couldn’t be more proud of the team that holds and has held the line over the years.
“There is more of a sacrifice nowadays for people who become officers,” he explained. “Our numbers are way down of people who apply as our average in hiring is about 1 in 15 applicants. We have officers who move to larger or higher pay departments and continue to do great. We have four former officers at the Colony Police Department and their Chief has a running comment with me about getting ‘his’ officers trained well. We are fortunate for those who choose to stay as they all do good work and they are committed to being good police officers.”
While today might just be “another day” for Hundley, many would agree he has done wonders for the department and Paris over the years.
And while age has not slowed him down, Hundley said the conversation about retirement has come up, however, he is just trying to define what ‘soon’ means.