A ranking career lawman has retired from the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. A retirement reception was held on Thursday, July 9, 2020, for Captain Chad Pennell, age 49, who has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 1993.
Pennell, the son of Dale and Dolly Pennell, is a resident of the Ellendale Community. In 1989, after graduating from Alexander Central High School, Pennell went into the U.S. Army, taking Basic Training and AIT training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He served in the United States Army from 1989-1995, where he was a Sergeant of Fire Support with two commendation medals. He has a two year degree in Criminal Justice from Wilkes Community College.
Captain Pennell was hired March 1, 1993, as a part-time School Resource Officer at East Alexander Junior High School. In February 1994, Pennell became a full-time deputy. During 1996-1997, he served as Patrol Shift Supervisor. In 1998, he was promoted to the Investigations Division, working sex crimes and drug crimes.
Pennell was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 2002-2003, during which time he worked on a task force to combat drugs with surrounding counties. From 2002 to 2010, Pennell was cross-sworn with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Unites States Marshals. In 2012, he was promoted to Captain of Investigations and Patrol. He was promoted to Patrol Captain in 2013. From 2012 to date, Pennell served as Patrol Captain for the Sheriff’s Office.
Captain Pennell’s achievements include Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates, Commander of Special Response Team (SRT), General Instructor, Firearms Instructor, two service (Lifesaving) awards, and service on multiple local boards and committees.
Several family members and friends joined Pennell at the reception, including his wife, Deanna, their daughter, Breanna, and son, Cole, along with other family members and fellow officers.
Jerry Pennell, Sunday School teacher at Millersville Baptist Church, and Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Robert St. Clair offered prayers at the event.
Sheriff Chris Bowman congratulated Captain Pennell on his distinguished career and nearly 30 years of service to the community. Bowman said he brought well-wishes from retired Sheriffs Ray Warren and Hayden Bentley, who could not attend the gathering.
Alexander County Commissioners Ronnie Reese and Marty Pennell also attended and wished Captain Pennell all the best in his retirement.
Captain Pennell was moved by the outpouring of support.
“My wife and my family have given so much for me to be able to do this job,” Captain Pennell said. “I’m thankful today that I can walk out, instead of getting carried out. There’s a lot who couldn’t do that. I’m thankful for my family members who helped me get to this day. And I think of this family here [officers], that I was through a door, I knew they’d be right behind me. There’s some who gave me direction when I was so young I didn’t realize what I was doing.”
“This job has turned so technical now that you have to be a lawyer to be able to do it,” Pennell continued. “These guys, they don’t get that training, just to be honest. Twenty-four hours every year, it’s not enough. I’m thankful for all of them, for things that they’ve given me, showed me, and followed me in. When you get to be in a certain position, you’ve got to trust the people behind you, that if you ask them to do something, they’ll do it. They have, and I really appreciate that.”
“Chad’s a good one. We will miss him. We wish him the best in his future career,” Sheriff Bowman said.
Pennell has taken a job as an electrician with Crowe Electric Services as his next career.