As the police chief for the City of Monroe, I am charged with the public safety of our nearly 40,000 residents and their property. I am also charged with the supervision and accountability of our nearly 110-member department. It is an extremely difficult task, but I feel our officers do an outstanding job day in and day out because they love the community they serve.

We recently went through a very difficult time in the loss of one of our officers, Paul Perrette, who for the past few years served as the school resource officer for Monroe High School. Paul was a model officer who always went above and beyond and always greeted people with a smile and total respect.

Paul’s passing was not only a heartbreaking blow for Paul’s family and his police brothers and sisters, but it was also devastating news for the students at Monroe High School. He adored these students, and they looked up to him as well.

The days following Paul’s passing were some of the most trying days I’ve had in my career. I saw the pain on our officers’ faces as they talked to friends and family. Hearing all the stories of how Paul helped someone in need and facing the reality that he was no longer with us was the actuality we were facing.

Despite the difficult times, our community gave us the strength and support we needed to go on. The overwhelming support we received was amazing. From Dr. Mike Harvey and the staff, students and parents at Monroe High School to all our brothers in blue, we were lifted up. From Vann Davis and the staff at Davis Funeral Home, to Pastor Chris Justice and the Lee Park Baptist Church Community, Pastor Paul Saleeby, Benton Heights Presbyterian, and Pastor Mike Harris of Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Dr. Rhett Brown and Scott Hunsucker of Wingate University and to all the residents of Monroe and Union County — we felt your love! We felt your support, and we were touched by hands of mercy and power throughout our time of sorrow.

There are many others to whom we owe a debt of gratitude: The unsung folks who delivered food and water, the people who left flowers at Paul’s police car, and those who took time to check on me personally. From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you!

To our fellow law enforcement and emergency service brothers and sisters who helped us mourn and allowed us to say goodbye while protecting our residents, we thank you. We thank the people who kept us in their prayers each day, and we thank all those who took time simply to pay their respects.

We love the community we serve; and while Paul’s passing was devastating, we will emerge stronger. We will continue to serve and protect the community we call home and the amazing residents who support us. During this time of tragedy and sorrow, I have never been more proud of the Police Department and having the privilege to be your Police Chief. Again, thank you, Monroe and Union County, for being there for us when we needed you!

With utmost sincerity,

Bryan Gilliard

Monroe Police Chief