After more than 15 years serving and protecting local citizens, Lt. Andre Cook will say goodbye to the Fulton Police Department today. He starts a new job with the state Oct. 22.
Cook, who started with the department in January 1997 and is currently the chief of detectives, said there was no particular reason for his decision to leave.
"An opportunity presented itself, and I thought it was good timing to hang up my handcuffs and venture out and try something new," Cook said.
A survey of Cook's co-workers during a going away lunch at the police department Thursday afternoon yielded a common theme that his ability to form relationships has always been one of his greatest assets as a policeman.
Sgt. Stan Holt, who has known and worked with Cook since 1990, said it is Cook's "driven nature" and his ability to connect with people that made him a good officer.
"The knowledge of people - not everybody has that gift of being introduced to somebody and remembering 10 years later who they are," Holt said. "He's just very personable."
Maj. Roger Rice, who said he worked with Cook mostly through the DARE program, noted that he "always had a great way with youngsters."
"He also does a lot of work in the community with kids, and he and I work the vast majority of athletic events and he's always talking to people," Rice said. "He's never met a stranger - it's one of his biggest assets, being able to relate to kids and adults."
Former police chief Charlie Latham said he often received compliments on Cook's work, noting his departure will be a big loss for the department.
"It's Andre's personality - he's one of those guys who never met a stranger and can talk to anybody about anything," Latham said in echo of the others' compliments.