When he was growing up, Nolensville Police Department Sgt. Chris Peercy was surrounded by family members and family friends who were in law enforcement, and their stories intrigued him.
As interesting and exciting as they were, it took him a few years and several different career stops before he realized law enforcement was where he was meant to be.
Right out of high school, Peercy spent time with the Mt. Juliet dispatch, but that didn’t hold his interest. So, he tried the IT field. He was a computer operator and later a computer system engineer.
It looked like he might have found his niche, but after about a dozen years in IT, all the while listening to scanner calls, what had been quietly bugging him eventually became a serious irritation and yearning for something more interesting and fulfilling.
“By that time, I was in my 30s,” Peercy said. “I had to make a decision. If I waited too long, I’d be too old to do it.”
He filled out an application for the Metro Nashville Police Department. A year later, in 2007, Peercy quit his IT job and entered the police academy for 22 weeks of training.
“It was hard to let go of the IT job,” he said. “I was taking a pay cut. People were asking me if I was out of my mind, but it was always in the background, so I just did it.”
Once he received his badge, Peercy was assigned to the north side of Nashville.
“It was good and bad,” he said. “We were busy all night long, from break-ins to shootings. It was a great place to get a lot of experience quickly.”
After a few years, Peercy was moved to the Hermitage precinct and then to the west precinct. In 2011, he was assigned to headquarters and the Strategic Development Division Accreditation Unit to keep the department up to date with CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accreditation, which happens every three years.
“There are hundreds of standards that have to be checked,” he said.
Peercy’s next assignment was more exciting and a lot more physical: the mounted patrol unit.
“I grew up on a farm, but we had cows. We didn’t have horses,” he said with a laugh.
Nashville’s mounted officers are totally responsible for their mounts — grooming and washing the horse, feeding and cleaning the stall, and cutting hay at the Ellington Agricultural Center.
Peercy had to develop a relationship with his equine partner by caring for it and learning police-style riding. It took 150 saddle hours of training, including riding bareback with only a rope around the horse’s neck, in case the reins are pulled from his hands, Peercy said.
Once the officer and horse knew each other well enough, they received their assignment. Peercy and his mount primarily covered downtown Nashville, including lower Broadway.
“Normally, when [law enforcement] in a car approach [people], they try to avoid you,” Peercy said. “On a horse, everyone wants to be near you. I saw a better side of policing and discovered horses are great crowd control. We did a lot of going to schools and talking to kids.”
Peercy was a mounted police officer for two years before being reassigned back to the accreditation unit. Shortly after, an opportunity arose to get back into IT work at Vanderbilt University.
“It was a great place to work, but it didn’t last long,” Peercy said. “From action to a cubical — after less than a year, I couldn’t stand it anymore.”
Peercy saw the Nolensville Police Department was hiring soon after Chief Roddy Parker took over. He researched the area, tested and took the plunge in 2018, returning to law enforcement.
Knowing the community makes a difference, according to Peercy. He even gets to shoot hoops with the local kids.
“It’s a calling,” he said. “When the radio pipes up, we never know what it will be. I’m constantly meeting new folks. The biggest thing I enjoy here is building relationships and having time to meet business owners.
“I enjoy solving problems. We solve lots of problems for people. I enjoy trying to figure out solutions.”