ROGERS -- Police Chief Hayes Minor is retiring this week after 29 years in law enforcement.
The department has been his home for 27 years. The first two years of his career were as a deputy for the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
There was a short break more than 20 years ago when he left the department for a position at J.B. Hunt, but he returned home four months later.
His last day on the job will be Friday.
A retirement ceremony for Minor was held Wednesday at the Rogers Activity Center.
Minor said he's been thinking about retiring for a year. He said former Rogers Police Chief James Allen told him he didn't want to be chief for too long because the position wears on you.
Minor said he didn't take it seriously at first because Allen spent 20 years as chief of the Bentonville Police Department before he came to lead the Rogers department.
"He was right," Minor said of Allen. "It's not just one thing. You are the guy or gal at the top who has to make the ultimate decisions."
Minor said he could continue working and remain an effective chief, but it has always been more than a job to him, and he believes it's time for him to retire.
Minor, 49, started working for the department in February 1994 and held different positions during his career, according to a news release. He spent most of his career in the uniform and criminal investigation divisions. He was a sergeant, lieutenant and captain over the uniform and CID divisions.
He was sworn in as police chief in February 2015, a month after his predecessor, Allen, died.
Minor credited Allen's leadership for changing the culture at the department and then the work of men and women at the department for his successful tenure. Minor said Allen had a tremendous impact on his life and career and Allen's footprint remains an important part of the department.
Minor said he feels he can leave now that a long-unsolved crime is resolved and the perpetrator is in prison.
Grant Hardin raped Amy Harrison at Tillery Elementary School in November 1997 as she prepared lessons on a Sunday morning. Minor was one of the detectives called to the scene.
The crime remained unsolved until Hardin's arrest in 2018. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison for rape. Hardin was already serving a 30-year prison sentence for the 2017 killing of James Appleton.
"It's a tremendous amount of comfort knowing that case is closed and he's in prison," Minor said. "He's going to be there a long time."
The retiring lawman said he hoped the unsolved murders of Matthew Summers Cain and Ernestine Andregg could have been solved under his watch.
Matthew -- just 44 days old -- died June 7, 1998, and an autopsy revealed his skull had been fractured. Andregg was stabbed to death Oct. 31, 1995, in her home at 405 S. 15th St.
Minor said he's grateful for the support he received from city leaders, members of the community and his officers.
Council member Marge Wolf thanked Hayes for his leadership and service to the department.
"The best thing about you, Hayes, is that you are a cool cop," she said at Wednesday's ceremony.
Mayor Greg Hines described Minor's retirement as "a bittersweet" time for him. Hines presented Minor with a framed display of all the badges he's had through his career.
"It's to honor your time and services with the department," Hines said.
David Crawford, a Rogers police officer and president of the Rogers Fraternal Order of Police, presented Minor with a shotgun from the organization. Crawford said the organization wanted to recognize Minor for his leadership, his support of his officers, and his community.
Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds presented Minor with a plaque from the Fayetteville Police Department.
Sgt. Marty Pollock with the Arkansas State Police presented Minor with a letter from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a plaque from the State Police.
Minor believes the department can continue to thrive under new leadership.
He plans to take it easy a few months, then work at family businesses, but most importantly do some philanthropic babysitting and spend time with his grandchildren.
He did have some advice for the next chief.
"Continue to work with the community and with the leadership in the department to make this place excel further than we are," Minor said. "I don't necessarily believe in reinventing the wheel and look around and see what's working and learn from others' mistakes. Come in with an open mind."