ASU chief retires after almost four decades

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

LORMAN – In 37 years as Alcorn State University campus police chief, A.J. Carpenter said he’s never had to use his gun.

&uot;It’s just part of the uniform,&uot; he said — a uniform he retired this week.

As much as he loves his job, Carpenter said he is looking forward to retirement.

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&uot;I feel good about it,&uot; he said, adding he plans to spend more time fishing and spoiling his five grandchildren.

But it won’t be all play. &uot;My wife told me I have to keep the house clean,&uot; he said, laughing.

Oddly enough, Carpenter said the thing he will miss most is &uot;getting up and reporting to work at seven o’clock every morning.&uot;

&uot;I’m the type of person who’s not going to sit around just because I’m retired.&uot;

Carpenter said he will also miss interacting with the students and his co-workers. Campus security consists of 16 certified officers and 17 guards and office staff.

A familiar face on campus since 1963, Carpenter said he has seen the college undergo many changes, but it has always been safe.

&uot;I can’t recall where we’ve ever had any real crime,&uot; he said, although he has witnessed his share of fraternity parties and fights.

One prankster stands out in Carpenter’s memory. Years ago, an Alcorn basketball player told several students that a spirit would rise from a cemetery located on the edge of campus.

&uot;That night, there was about 500 students that went down to the cemetery with their blankets and all,&uot; Carpenter said.

The athlete then told the crowd the spirit had changed his mind and was going to appear on the football field.

A huge crowd had gathered in the stadium before the dean and police came to break it up, Carpenter said.

With nearly four decades of memories, Carpenter said he will have to come back and visit the campus on occasion.

&uot;How could I not; this is home,&uot; he said.

Co-workers are going to miss Carpenter as well. In honor of his retirement, they have planned a reception for tonight, and Carpenter said he is &uot;very excited.&uot;

&uot;I didn’t know retirement could bring on all this,&uot; he said. &uot;I told my wife, ‘y’all didn’t have to prepare all this. I could have just had a meeting and told them all bye-bye.’&uot;

As Carpenter makes one of his daily drives around campus, every student and faculty member he passes waves a friendly hello.

&uot;Being around Alcorn all this time,&uot; Carpenter said with a pause, &uot;you can’t just walk away and forget it.&uot;