Bonham has a new community police officer, who plans to walk a lot of miles for better neighborhood-police relations.

Robert Kelley — known as “Bobby” to his friends— took over the upper Bonham beat in January from CPOP (Community Police On Patrol) Officer Scott Stanley, who returned to patrol car duty.

Kelley, who like Stanley works out of the Police Station, inherited a beat that stretches from Oak and Main streets to Elm and Church.

Of real Irish ancestry, the 21-year-old Robert says he’s always wanted to be a police officer. “I like being able to help people and make the streets safer.”

A five- year veteran of the police force, Kelley grew up in the North Beach and was educated in the city’s Catholic schools. He also spent several years at the University.

As a boy, he especially admired the foot-beat police officers he’d see on the street. “They would get to know the different players in the neighborhood.” Kelley recalls, “who the good guys were, who the bad guys were.”

Kelley now has plenty of time to emulate his old heroes — he gels to walk 10 hours a day, four days a week, on his new beat.

Recently, he completed the required training for bicycle duty, and says he plans to incorporate bike riding into his patrol when the weather gets a little warmer. He confesses, however, that he’d much rather continue walking.

Just married this past December Kelley and his new wife Diane live in Bonham’s Washington District. A soft-spoken man, the CPOP officer says it has been difficult to fill the popular Scott Stanley’s shoes. “Everyone knew Scott”, he says. “It’s tough to start over.”

That’s not to say that local residents have shunned Kelley. “People are very happy to see me out there. People are very friendly.”