Jerry Neumayer recently retired from a 20-year career with Morgan Hill Police Department, but the former police captain is probably equally known in town as a coach, father, husband and neighbor.
Neumayer, 46, moved to Morgan Hill with his wife, Elizabeth, shortly after MHPD hired him as a patrol officer in the late 1990s. The couple raised their two kids here—a son who is a senior in high school and a daughter who recently graduated from college.
Since Neumayer started working for MHPD, he has climbed the ranks to become one of the department’s two captains, who report directly to the chief of police. Neumayer was promoted to the captain’s post in 2011.
One aspect of the relatively small local department that kept Neumayer here is that he was able to “dabble in many different fields,” from detective work and patrol to training instruction to working on a state narcotics task force and attending the national FBI academy.
Neumayer moved to Morgan Hill from Stockton. He started his career as a Military Police officer in the U.S. Army, which he joined two weeks after graduating from high school. Then he put himself through the police academy with the assistance of the G.I. bill. After the army and the academy, Neumayer worked as a police officer at Delta College in Stockton, then as a school district officer in the same city.
Neumayer recalls one night in Stockton when a bullet came crashing through his bedroom window while his pregnant wife was sleeping. “I said, ‘We’ve got to get out of here.’”
He had never heard of Morgan Hill, but found out the city’s police department was hiring. He visited, and he and his wife immediately “fell in love” with Morgan Hill.
“It’s a small community, and I wanted to raise my kids here,” Neumayer said.
The retired captain said former MHPD chief Bruce Cumming inspired him to stay in Morgan Hill at a time Neumayer considered leaving in the mid-2000s.
“I wanted to go to a bigger department and continue doing investigations, because that’s what I enjoyed a lot—plainclothes-type stuff, surveillance,” Neumayer said. “But then Bruce Cumming came here and promoted me to sergeant, and that was one of the greatest experiences, doing patrol and special operations as a detective sergeant for four years.”
He added that he appreciates the fact that the Morgan Hill community is supportive of its police department, an attribute he said doesn’t exist in many other cities. “That makes for a great environment to work in,” Neumayer said.
Throughout his career, Neumayer says his favorite part of it all was the people in the community.
“The people that I work with, that’s what I’m going to miss the most, and also helping the community,” Neumayer said. “Our officers take pride in everything they do, because they know that’s the right thing to do.”
This love for the community made it an easy choice for Neumayer to get involved in his children’s sports and other activities. Over the years he has coached for Pony Baseball, Spirit Softball, Pride Softball and the Morgan Hill Raiders. He has sat on the board of directors for Raiders, Pride and the YMCA.
Neumayer, like many longtime residents, has seen a lot of change in Morgan Hill in the last 20-plus years: The city’s downtown has grown from “nothing,” and from a law enforcement perspective, traffic congestion has blown up in just the last five years, he noted.
“I would be remiss to mention that I would not be where I am today in my career if I had not had the love and support from my wife, Elizabeth,” Neumayer noted.
Neumayer retired June 17 of this year—perhaps a little earlier than he preferred but necessitated by a recent surgery that was required after multiple injuries on the job over the years.
“I would have loved to stay on at least until I was 50,” Neumayer said. “But I knew that by having the surgery there was a high chance of having to retire early because of the physical requirements. I was OK with that.”
Neumayer hopes to be able to play more golf in his retirement, but he is also seeking civilian employment doing background checks or personnel investigations.
MHPD Chief David Swing, who was appointed to his post in 2010, said the city is lucky to have a leader like Neumayer. Swing worked closely with Neumayer throughout both their careers in Morgan Hill. The two worked the same shift as patrol officers early in their careers, developing “strong bonds of trust” while also enjoying a “fun and competitive” camaraderie.
“It was through these events working patrol, attending SWAT school and call-outs for high-risk responses, and spending time together with our families outside of work that I came to know Jerry the best,” Swing said. “We motivated each other to be better officers and, later in our careers, to be better leaders.”
Swing praised Neumayer as much for his devotion to the community as he did for his work as a police officer.
“Jerry’s service to Morgan Hill is far greater than any accomplishment from his law enforcement career—of which there are many,” Swing added. “Jerry is well known in the world of South County youth sports from coaching kids in various sports leagues, serving on the board of those same organizations, and his never-too-serious persona that lights up a room when he walks in.”