Former professional baseball player Lance Warren has just joined the ranks of the Richmond Hill Police Department.
Warren has followed one dream after another in his professional career. You might remember him from his heralded past as a star athlete at Richmond Hill High School. During his tenure as a Wildcat, Warren shined bright on both the baseball diamond and the football field before eventually joining the Dodgers.
Mickey Bayens was head baseball coach during Warren’s run at RHHS. "In my ten years with Richmond Hill High School athletics, he was probably the best athlete to come out of that school in baseball and football," Bayens said. "He was a star athlete and just a great kid. He would take the spotlight out of sheer ability, and really take control of the game."
In his senior year, Warren batted close to 500, had numerous home runs, had the most stolen bases and was voted MVP.
When it came time to graduate, in 1997, Warren found himself at a crossroads. He was presented with numerous scholarship offers and also a draft invitation from the Dodgers.
Warren, who had aspirations of playing pro ball since he was a child, went with the draft for what wound up being a three-year stint in the Dodgers farm system.
Upon signing, he was immediately flown to Great Falls, Montana where he played for the Dodgers team there. Soon thereafter, he coincidentally was flown back to Savannah where he played for the Sand Gnats – who were a Single A Dodger team at that time. His second year, he played for the Dodgers team in Vero Beach, Florida.
The year 1999 was a turbulent one for the Dodgers, and Warren was not sheltered from the changes that the organization was going through. The franchise was sold to billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Several supervisors were let go and long-time Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was stepping down.
It was in 1999 when Warren, while in double A spring training, was one of 70 circuit players to be cut. Not coincidentally, this was days after they signed Kevin Brown to an enormous contract.
"It’s a tough business, and that’s what it is – a business," Warren said.
Although Warren said that he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Dodgers franchise, he said that the lifestyle that the occupation demanded was not easy.
"It’s not what everybody thinks it is," Warren explained. "When you’re at that level, you’re not making a lot of money. You’re on the road 15 days at a time traveling by bus. It’s a daily physical grind as well, but it was fun."
Soon after returning home from his Dodgers stint, Warren followed another dream and became a police officer when he joined the Chatham County Police Department in 2003.
When the decision was made in 2005 to fuse the Chatham and Savannah Police Departments, Warren said he wasn’t comfortable with the transformation the department had undergone. He voluntarily left.
After a stint in construction and creating his own pressure washing business, Southern Pressure Washing, which he still maintains today, Warren felt the urge to back into the business that he says he truly loves: law enforcement.
As fate would have it, his hometown police chief, Billy Reynolds, was looking for some new recruits about this time. Warren went to see the chief, and the rest is history.
Warren said that he has found his place, and looks at the RHPD as a long-term career.
"Chief Reynolds is a wonderful person to work for, and there are a lot of good people in this department from top to bottom," Warren said. "I couldn’t be happier about finding my niche right here in my hometown."
Another life-changing event occurred during the time he entered his third year of pro ball in 1998 – he got engaged. He and his wife have two little boys that they are raising from their Richmond Hill home. Life seems good for Officer Lance Warren.
In between maintaining law and order in Richmond Hill, Warren catches glimpses of his glory days on that pro circuit.
"It was truly a lot of fun," Warren said. "I was getting to do things and see things that a normal teenager wouldn’t get to do. All the while getting to play the game that I love and getting paid for it. It really prepared me for life too. Once I left mom and dad’s at 18 and hit the road with the Dodgers, I haven’t been back. Thank goodness they had done a pretty good job in raising me that I was able to control myself and grow from the experience."