Deputy Chief Harold Medlock pointed to the wall of monitors at police headquarters -- a sophisticated surveillance system he helped create -- the perfect place to talk about a career that has been much more than a job.
"I believe I was called to do this work when I was 12 years old," Medlock said.
Within 10 years, he had put on a uniform and answered that call, the first of many as a cop on the street.
But he said he never saw where it would lead -- to his role coordinating police planning for the biggest event the city of Charlotte has ever held: the Democratic National Convention.
Almost a full year before the convention began, Medlock explained how nearly every officer in the department was being trained for the DNC.
By September, police were ready. And there were some tense moments, but the riots never happened, and Medlock said they got some help they hadn't counted on.
"We had some great rainstorms at strategic times, and we didn't plan for that," Medlock said. "Rain puts a damper on emotions. Of course, our cops and chief of police had to stand out in the rain with the demonstrators, but certainly that helped."
Medlock said he will take lessons from the DNC with him to Fayetteville, along with lessons from a department and a community that have seen crime drop steadily over the past three years.
But he will also take the enduring pain of burying 11 police officers killed in the line of duty.
"Every one of those, you die a little bit inside as you see those good people give those lives," he said.
In the end, it is the people Medlock will miss most -- people who have been part of a calling he heard more than 40 years ago.