Hill remembered as ‘legendary’ PB detective

Former Pine Bluff Police Detective Sgt. Rick Hill was described as “a legend” by his peers, who also remembered Hill as someone who cared about doing it right.

Hill, 61, who retired from the police department in 2012, died Jan. 17 at Batesville.

“Rick and I started on the same day, Jan. 26, 1975,” Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks said. “We were part of that group of 14 hired at the same time.”

Hubanks said Hill was “a guy that helped others,” going on to say that while the two were attending the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Hill tried to help other officers by being involved in study groups and other activities.

“The first time Rick put in for detectives, he was working patrol and his schedule worked out so that he could take care of his father who was dying of cancer,” Hubanks said.

“Rick was selected and turned down the job the first time,” Hubanks said. “He didn’t take the job in detectives until after his father died and when he did, he became a legend.”

One of those who worked closely with Hill is current Detective Sgt. Danny Belvedresi.

“We were pretty close,” Belvedresi said. “He was really easygoing and everybody thought the world of him.”

Funeral services for Hill were held Jan. 19 in Melborne.

“I couldn’t go to the funeral,” Belvedresi said. I didn’t want to see him in a casket like that.”

Regarding Hill’s work in the Detective Division, Hubanks said “His case preparation was second to none.”

“He had a nose for following a case and he worked a case the way it was supposed to be worked,” Hubanks said.

Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter agreed, saying “he not only knew how to work a case, he knew how to keep working it to get better results.”

“When we took a case to trial, I didn’t have any worries about putting him on the stand,” Hunter said.

Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley worked many homicide cases with Hill.

“Whenever I had a problem of any kind with a case, I knew I could go to him and he would help me out,” Kelley said.

At the time of his death, Hill was a deputy sheriff in Izard County.

‘I told the sheriff up there that Pine Bluff lost a good man but he would be getting a good man if he hired Rick,” Hunter said.

Even though Hill was in another part of the state, he and Hubanks kept in touch.

“I called him two or three times after he went up there to ask about Pine Bluff cases,” Hubanks said. “He had a phenomonal memory.

Hill’s survivors include his wife, Beverly, who also retired as a dDetective from the police department; his mother, Laverne Hill; a son, Todd Sallee; a daughter, Bambi Wilson; three stepdaughters, Joyce Calhoon, Kathrine Holloway and Michelle Isom; three brothers, Gary Hill, Ronnie Hill and Donnie Hill; a sister, Connie Weaver; and nine grandchildren.

Hill was buried with full police honors was in Antioch Cemetery at Melborne.

“I’m going to miss him and everybody else he was around is going to miss him,” Hubanks said.