Officer enjoys taking on a challenge

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 7, 2002

Messenger Intern

He fights crime at Charles Henderson High School during the day and crime in the Troy Housing Projects at night. He donates the few hours of free time that he has to an organization called Charlie’s Angels and seems to also find the time to spend time with his two children and wife. This man is Officer Willie Toney, the Messenger’s Neighbor of the Week.

Officer Toney grew up in Troy and graduated from what is now called Pike County High School, but was once referred to as Hillcrest High School. After receiving his high school diploma, he had a strong desire for some excitement, so he joined the military. Twenty-two years and six months ago, Toney retired from the military. He knew that he still wanted to work full time, so he decided to become a police officer.

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"I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I retired from the military, but I knew that I had to do something! I have never been the type to just sit around the house, I have a strong work ethic that was instilled in me as a child. I never sit still," said Toney.

At first, Toney was a full-time patrolman in the Troy Housing Projects. He helped reduce the crime rate incredibly in his patrolled area and enjoyed his work so much that when the opportunity arose for him to become Charles Henderson High School’s Resource Officer two years ago, he jumped at the chance.

"I work a Charles Henderson during the day and still patrol the projects in the evenings. I enjoy my work at the school because it is such a challenge. I took the job because I don’t ever turn down a challenge.

The teachers do such a great job out there; the faculty keeps those kids in line. The only bad thing about working out there are the parents who don’t get involved with their own children’s education. The saddest thing is when a child’s parent will call the office on the last day of school asking if he or she is going to graduate. That is so sad," he said.

Toney’s responsibilities as resource officer are not only controlling crime involving the students, but also assisting administration in any way that he can. Mostly, criminal matters are Toney’s specialty at CHHS, but he has many more talents that cannot be shown off in his police officer uniform.

Charlie’s Angels is a group of retired military men who have strong desires to give back to their Pike County community. During the years that the 17 men in Charlie’s Angels have been together, they have raised over $28,000 for Pike County by holding raffles, car washes, yard sales and any other sale that is possible. This money has been used to fund scholarships, burn victims or any other situation that calls for an "angel" of some sort to aid. Charlie’s Angels also attend military funerals of veterans in Birmingham, Dothan and Montgomery, in order to show appreciation for years completed in the service.

Can you imagine a man as busy as Toney enjoying completing even more work in his spare time? Well, as a matter of fact he does. A jack of all trades is he, for he enjoys doing carpentry, contract work and tearing down houses to earn some extra money. He also shows supports to his two children, Jeremy Jones, a sophomore at CHHS

and fifth-grade student Shaquetta Jones, by watching them both play sports, which they truly enjoy. Quality time with his wife Annette, who works as chief supervisor at Pike County Courthouse, he says is very enjoyable. However, when he is not at work or at home with his family, fishing becomes a hobby, but only if there is no work to be completed.

"I do work a lot, but I enjoy it. How many people can say that they really love their jobs? Not many, I assure you, but every morning I look forward to the rest of my day, because I love my family and my work … I just love life."