Friday, March 30, 2007

Trooper Jeff "JJ" Creech Retires From Patrol

Nearly 300 people attended retirement ceremonies Thursday night for State Trooper Jeff “JJ” Creech of Smithfield. Creech, 50, retired this week, ending a 25-year career with the NC Highway Patrol. Creech graduated from Smithfield-Selma High in 1975 and began work as a surveyor with the Department of Transportation, then at W.L. Smith Supply Company in Smithfield. But during that time, Creech said he wanted to become a trooper. Creech joined the Smithfield Police Department in 1979 and in 1982 was accepted to the Highway Patrol. “I was raised on a farm. When you saw a trooper go down the road you had respect for him. It was a prestigious outfit,” Creech told WMPM. The same year Creech joined the Highway Patrol, he married his wife, Angie. They now have two children, Allison Johnson and Justin Creech. “JJ” Creech was stationed in Harnett County until 1990. Creech said he loved the folks in Harnett County but Johnston County was home and he wanted to be closer to his family. He even turned down two promotions in order to return to Johnston County, serving the citizens with integrity and honesty. “I know what’s right. You have to stand on your own two feet. Popular may be better, but it’s not always right,” he said. Trooper Creech, who is a Field Training Officer, was named Johnston County Trooper of the Year twice and Instructor of the Year three times at Johnston and Sampson Community Colleges where he taught law enforcement classes.

Creech served ten years on the patrol's prestigious honor and color guards. Creech is thankful to have survived 25 years on the roads. “A lot of guys don’t make it,” referring to fellow Trooper and friend Ed Lowery who was gunned down on I-95 in Cumberland County in 1997. Creech said he has had several close calls but he says his faith has prevailed. “God is first, my family is second, and the patrol is third. That has never changed.” Creech is credited with pulling a man from an overturned burning car on Highway 301 near Micro eight years ago. The driver, suffering from diabetes, crashed as Creech tried to stop his vehicle. But Trooper Creech said his most rewarding work has been training 19 troopers, as a field training officer, and seeing them succeed. As for his plans after retirement, Creech says he still wants to remain active. “I’ll always work,” he said laughingly. Creech also plans to spend more time with his family, including his mother, Rosalie Creech. As for any advice he has to offer to others, Trooper Creech said, “Everything good starts with a seed of discipline.”


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