MULLENS, WV (WOAY) – After 16 years as the police chief of Mullens, Ray Toler is retiring.
“To me it’s been like, if you watch the Andy Griffith Show, I feel like I’ve been Andy,” Toler said. “I felt responsible for the town the whole time I’ve been here. The people of the town have been great.”
From the age of three, Ray Toler knew he was destined to be in law enforcement. He’s been serving in law enforcement in the area in different capacities since the ’70s. A back injury he sustained on the job is sending him into retirement early, but after decades of serving various communities, he is leaving quite the legacy.
“I think we counted up the other day right close to 100 men have come through the Mullens Police Department,” Toler said.
And one of those men is Fayette County Deputy Sheriff J.W. Clemins who started off with the Mullens Police Department under Chief Toler.
“I call him dad. He’s like my father,” Clemins said. “He said, ‘I don’t want you to lie to anybody and I want you to be honest. And if you’re not sure you can help a person, be honest.’ And that’s what I’ve done throughout my whole career, and it’s really worked for me.”
But he hasn’t just made an impact on the police department. He’s gone the extra mile to be a member of the community.
“It’s instant with Ray,” State Farm’s Butch McNeely said. “He’s very nice. Very warm. Very engaging. He’s one of the best police officers I’ve ever seen.”
And of course if you ask Chief Toler about the highlights of his career he won’t tell you how many arrests he made or cases he cracked. However, he will tell you about closing down the street for Halloween and bringing the Christmas parade back and how he rescued a chihuahua that he would bring to work and all the other ways he has brought joy to the small town of Mullens.
“The thing I’ll miss most will be the people and kids. I love kids,” he said. “I may not remember their names because I’m getting old, but I love when I go to the grade school and all these kids come up and high five me and ‘Hey Ray! How are you today, Ray?” Somebody will say, ‘Who’s that?’ And I don’t really remember who they are, but they know me.”
And although he may no longer carry the title of chief, to the kids, the people and the community of Mullens, he’ll always be Ray.
Chief Toler’s last official day is Friday, but he will continue to live in the area.