GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - ECU Police Chief Scott Shelton is set to retire from the department on Thursday and plans to move to Missouri to be closer to his family.
Shelton, who's been in law enforcement for more than 36 years, became East Carolina University's police chief in March, 2008.
During Shelton's time with ECU Police, the department had upgraded equipment, expanded crime-prevention operations and conducted training exercises, such as preparing for possible active-shooters on campus.
"I've put my heart and soul into this job. I've loved the job the career I'm in of law enforcement. [But] it's time for me to get out. I think I'm at a high point in my career and now it's time to get back to where I grew up and be close to my grandchildren," Shelton said.
Crime at ECU had fluctuated over the last five years, but major crime is down, according to Shelton.
"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work here and I've enjoyed it. It certainly has had its challenges, but the outcome has been great. The reward has been even greater," Shelton said.
He said one of the most memorable incidents during his tenure was the campus-wide lockdown in November 2011, when a man was spotted walking on 5th St. with what appeared to be an assault rifle. Although the item in question was actually an umbrella, Shelton said he's proud of his teams' response.
"I think what the "gunbrella" incident really showed was our preparedness. We had been preparing at least two years up until that incident and longer than two years really. And what it proved was that all the training we had been through, all the full-scale exercises were paying off in that our officers knew how to respond, [and they] responded appropriately," Shelton said.
Multiple agencies worked together that day to secure buildings and evacuate students. The campus was on lockdown for several hours until authorities located the man carrying the umbrella.
"That's not to say everything went exactly as you want to plan it. They never do. But we learned from that and learned that first of all, we had a good response," Shelton said.
Shelton told NewsChannel 12 he has no idea who is going to replace him. ECU Police had not announced an interim chief.