Melrose police chief retiring at end of month

By David Irvin

A long-time area law enforcement official has announced his retirement as Melrose’s police chief, effective Dec. 31.
Clarence “Gomer” Pyle, 61, who has been with the Melrose department for five years, dedicated 28 years of community service to the area. During his career, he worked with Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey and even tutored Clovis City Manager Ray Mondragon, who started his career as a police dispatcher.

Pyle started with Clovis police in 1967, quit and then returned in 1970, serving 23 years before retiring as a captain.

But Pyle could not stay retired. In the late 1990s, he was asked to serve as police chief in Melrose.

“When I first got in there I didn’t think I would stay very long, but I ended up staying five years,” Pyle said.

Mondragon said Pyle’s straight-forward police style gained him the respect of fellow officers.

“I’ve always known Gomer to be a straight shooter. He meant what he said and he got it done,” Mondragon said. “Law enforcement is surely going to miss him. Gomer will always be a true friend to law enforcement and certainly to myself.”

Carey said Pyle was his first boss.

“He was a good supervisor and I enjoyed working for him,” Carey said.

Though Melrose, with its 800 or so residents, is not known for its crime, Pyle found multiple ways to assist the community as its police chief. For example, he was credited with several improvements to the village, most notably by rearranging the physical address system to make delivery of packages easier for mail carriers.

“It was kind of hard to do, to talk with a lot of people who were dead-set with their addresses,” he said. “But it was all screwed up. Between the post office, the village and the cable (companies), they just had all sorts of different addresses.”

After retirement, he has a number of home-improvement projects to complete and he just hopes to relax after a long and tiresome career.

“It’s Social Security time now,” he said.

Melrose village council member Lance Pyle, the police chief’s son, said the council will probably accept the resignation when it meets again on Thursday.