Chris McCall was sworn in as the new chief of the Kerrville Police Department on Dec. 8. McCall’s wife, Kelli, joined him on stage at the Cailloux Theater and held the Bible as Municipal Judge Mark Prislovsky administered the oath.
McCall says since then he has been “getting to know a great group of people” who work under him, as well as making contacts in the Kerrville community.
“I’m starting off with an organization that has a great foundation,” he says. “The time since I was sworn in has gone by fast, and I’m learning like I’m drinking water from a fire hose, but I’m settling in. I plan to develop a strategic plan to move forward and make things better.”
But he also says he’ll honor local customs. “The chief in Hobbs, where I came here from, wore four stars on his collar, so when I moved up there, so did I. But it’s more of a department tradition. Chief Knight wore two stars, so I’m honoring that by wearing two as the KPD chief.”
McCall says he has also been getting to know Kerrville. “The Department needs to partner with the community, so we are involved with them, and they with us. As we deal with crime and traffic, and take a proactive stance toward those issues, we need to keep to our goal of providing a better quality of life for all the citizens.”
He says he will form a relationship with the other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the district and county attorneys, to develop a team approach to enforcing Texas and local laws.
To help him do all that, he says KPD has a total professional strength of about 70 people. Of those, 57 are sworn law enforcement officers, 10 are dispatchers, and the rest are records personnel, civilian evidence processors, and clerks. Then he has an additional asset he says he didn’t have in Hobbs, that being the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association volunteers who assist the department in a number of non-law enforcement roles, like greeting visitors at the front desk.
McCall says he was born in Hobbs, N.M., but his family moved 20 miles to Lovington when he was in kindergarten. He was a Lovington High School Wildcat, one of the 70 seniors graduating in 1990. During his junior year he took Kelli Hernandez for a first date to see “Uncle Buck,” and they started dating through their senior year. He went to Eastern New Mexico University’s branch campus in Roswell, and earned his associate’s degree. They married in August of 1994, after she finished nursing school with her RN.
“I started at Texas Tech,” he says. “But I ran out of money, so I applied to the South Plains College Law Enforcement Training Center in Levelland. After graduation, I worked for the Texas Tech Police Department for two years. By then Kelli and I had a son, born in 1997, and were expecting a daughter in 1999. We decided we needed more family support, so I applied at the Hobbs P.D, so we could go home. Our daughter was born, and we moved four days later, which was not fun. I started as a patrol officer for the Hobbs P.D. in 1999, and served with them for 20 years, moving up through the ranks until I retired in 2019.”
He says the two children are grown now. Their son, Hunter, is “working like he has three jobs” as a sous chef in San Antonio, and their daughter, Hailey, is in nursing school in Hobbs.
McCall says during that 20 years, besides his HPD career, he served on the board of directors for “Leadership New Mexico,” was a member and served as president of the “New Mexico Chiefs of Police Association,” graduated from the FBI Academy, and served on the board of the “New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.” In 2012 he earned a bachelor of arts in public administration from Iowa University.
He was also a member of Rotary in New Mexico, and says Kerrville Rotary groups are already trying to recruit him.
His interest in the Hill Country was also a matter of family. He says, “Our son, Hunter, lives in San Antonio; Kelli’s father now lives in San Marcos; my father and stepmother, David and Peggy McCall, live in Sisterdale; and my mother and step-father, Karen and Billy Cummings, are moving to Lubbock. We’re hoping to disrupt those plans a bit, and get them closer.”
“After I retired from the Hobbs P.D. we had a family conversation about moving to the Hill Country. Two weeks later I saw the announcement that the chief’s position in Kerrville was open, and I applied. Now we’re here in Kerrville, and I’m the chief of police, working with a department I hope to take from good to great.”