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Officers, others remember former CPD Chief Jack Cobb

Posted: January 23, 2014 4:52 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Longtime Camden Police Department (CPD) officer and former Chief Jack Cobb, 75, passed away Sunday. He served the city of Camden from 1975 to 1997, becoming chief in 1993. Cobb’s former colleagues remember him as a dedicated policeman, but one who was always ready with a practical joke.

“He was not the chief at the time, he was the captain, but it was Captain Cobb who hired me and took me under his wing,” CPD Capt. Mike Stone said. “He was a lot of fun. No matter how horrible the task was, how terrible the duties were at the time, he made it fun. Every single day you came to work you had something to laugh about. It made things go by quicker and easier. When you’re dealing with the worst things out here and you can laugh occasionally through it, it makes it a whole lot easier.”

CPD Lt. Herbie Frasier described Cobb as a mentor.

“Jack took me under his wing to do investigations and that’s pretty much all I’ve done here for 31 years,” Frasier said. “He played a lot of practical jokes on me.”

Frasier recalled the car Cobb used to drive.

“Jack drove the ugliest car the city has ever purchased. It was a Ford Fairmont, baby blue in color, the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen,” he said. “I guess maybe somebody donated it to the city, but it sure was ugly.

Stone remembered Cobb’s constant companion -- his dog, a dachshund.

“Everywhere he went, that dog was with him. It was kind of a fixture. He would show up, even years later when I was working on investigations. We would be working late at night on a case, he’d come through the door and the dog would be right behind him,” Stone said. “Another thing I always greatly respected about Jack was his love for his wife and his family. He was hooked on his wife, for sure.”

Stone and Frasier said Cobb remained calm under any kind of pressure or situation.

“He never got excited. Nothing ever rattled him. I don’t know if that’s from the military, but we’ve seen him in some bad situations that didn’t bother him one bit,” Frasier said.

Kershaw County Assistant Administrator Allen Trapp is a former CPD officer who worked with Cobb from 1990 to 1994.

“The bottom line is Chief Cobb hired me early on when he was a captain,” Trapp said. “One of the things I always liked about him is he was a man of real integrity in the sense that he really had a total package of leadership. He could be a mentor and provide good instruction and had a great sense of humor, and that’s important.

“He would expect a lot out of you, but he was the type that if you needed to sit down and talk to him, he would do that. He cared about you as a person. That’s why he holds such a special place in my heart. I will miss him. He was the person who was most instrumental in molding my early career.”

Camden attorney William Tetterton, an assistant solicitor from 1975 to 1991, said he worked with Cobb to secure many drug convictions.

“Primarily, that’s where he and I became very familiar with each other. We made a big movement in getting the dope dealers off the streets of Kershaw County. Jack was a leader among the people who worked under him. He had a lot of respect, because he set an example (of) how to do good policing,” Tetterton said. “People don’t police today like we did back in the old days. Jack just had a way with some of the people we would bring in for questioning. He would talk to them and they would just open up and the next thing we knew we had a confession without putting any muscle on them. He was energetic. He didn’t mind me calling him any time, day or night.”

Current Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd said he didn’t work with Cobb, but knows it was Cobb’s personality and relationship with the community that made him an effective police officer and leader.

“The strength that Jack had back then was his people skills. He knew everybody in town and everybody knew him and trusted him and they would talk to him. That’s how he solved so many cases. He could find out anything out there and a lot of that skill he passed on to other officers,” Floyd said. “Even with all the technology we have, the strongest assets we have are the things he taught people who are still here in this department.”

A service celebrating the life of Jack Benny Cobb was held Thursday at Mt. Hebron Free Will Baptist Church in Cassatt. Burial followed in the Sandy Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery. The family received friends on Wednesday at Kornegay Funeral Home in Camden.

Cobb was born in Cassatt, the son of the late Lowman W. and Faye Cauthen Cobb. A retired chief petty officer, Cobb served two tours in Vietnam while in the U.S. Navy. He was also a member of American Legion VFW Post 17.

Cobb is survived by his wife, Ruth Snipes Cobb; his children, Joann C. Wilson (Danny Ray) of Camden, Jack B. Cobb Jr. (Debbie) of Cassatt, and Tammy Cobb of Camden; brothers, Bobby Cobb of Camden, Neil Cobb of Cassatt, Billy Cobb (Sallie) of Camden and Roy Cooper (Marilyn) of Hinton, W. Va.; grandchildren, Hank Cobb (Trabille), Stephanie Cox (Kendall), Jackie Smith (Ryan), Jennifer Caulder and Ashley Cobb; 11 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Molly, Kay and Nancy; and brother-in-law, Don Tucker.

Memorials may be made in Cobb’s memory to either Mt. Hebron Free Will Baptist Church, 2071 Old Georgetown Road East, Bethune, SC 29009, or as food donations to Food for the Soul, 110 East DeKalb St., Camden, SC 29020.

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