CUNEY – Gregory Sinkfield Sr., a 16-year law enforcement veteran, is now the top cop in Cuney.

Sinkfield, a 44-year-old native of Atlanta, Georgia, was sworn into office Monday as the new Cuney Police Chief after being hired June 16 to succeed Michael Trawick, who stepped down from the position on May 31.

The new chief said he's looking forward to serving as the city's top officer, having recently served as a lieutenant on the Coffee City police force.

“My police chief pulled me aside and said he thought this would be a good opportunity,” and so he applied, he said.

Sinkfield's career includes stints with the Morris Brown College police department in Atlanta and the City of Pine Lake, Georgia, before moving to Texas in 2005.

Here, he served as a police sergeant in Lone Oak, as well as a field training officer and investigator with the Dallas Community College District in El Centro and Richland, before returning to Georgia in 2007 as deputy police chief with Atlanta College.

Sinkfield held that position for more than two years before becoming supervisor over the criminal investigation division at Clark Atlanta University, he said.

Having earned a doctorate in divinity, Sinkfield began pastoring full-time in 2011 at Empowering Life Christian Church in Atlanta, until his family's return to Texas in 2013, where he subsequently joined the police force in Coffee City.

Additionally, the chief is a certified training instructor for firearms as well as a law enforcement educator.

Sinkfield and his wife, a first-grade teacher for Mesquite ISD, have five children. They will continue to live in the Metroplex, where Sinkfield is a pastor at Empowering Life Church in Mesquite.

“I'm looking for a home here, where I'll be staying during the week,” he said, adding that he doesn't think the arrangement will pose a challenge.

“I plan to hold a town hall meeting, where I can listen to the concerns of the citizens,” he said. “From there, we can be a more community-oriented police department, who is more (attuned) to the community's needs.”

Along with the meeting, future plans including a back-to-school initiative featuring a backpack drive for students, participating in National Night Out and helping to ensure the safety of local children through participation in different programs.

His background as parent, pastor and police officer spurs him to focus on youths.

“It's a combination of them all, of being a concerned parent, of being a pastor and (being married to an educator). I feel the community can benefit from that,” Sinkfield said.

He oversees a force of 11 officers, who primarily are reserves. Sinkfield is the only full-time officer, while his second in command, Sergeant Allan Richardson – a five-year Coffee City police veteran who was hired Monday – is a part-time city employee.

Other part-time employees on the force include Investigator Lamont Hughes of the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and Kelan Logan, who graduates from the Cedar Valley College Law Enforcement Academy on Thursday.

Until Sinkfield's hire, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office provided service in Cuney after the city's force quit in late May, leaving the town of 140 without police protection.