For Huntersville's chief of police Philip Potter, being able to effect change is the most satisfying part of his job.
But his greatest responsibility is - as for any other member of his department - is to serve the town's residents.
"What I get to do as a police chief is look after the best interest of the community and try to solve the community's problems as a whole," said Potter.
Whether that is improving youth programs or updating police equipment in his more than five years withthe department, Potter enjoys seeing some of his visions come to fruition.
But the 58-year-old Ohioan didn't always want to go into law enforcement.
When Potter graduated from high school, he wanted to become a government and history teacher and he attended Capital University.
While in college, he decided to pursue a slight interest in law enforcement because his older brother, Joe, was a policeman in their hometown of Troy, Ohio.
"I started to do ride-alongs and became a part of their nonsworn auxiliary police," Potter recalled. "That's when I figured out that's what I really wanted to do."
Potter got a job in a neighboring city as a policeman as he finished his college education. He worked for the Piqua (Ohio) Police Department for more than 30 years before coming to the Lake Norman area in 2004.
In Piqua, he started off as a patrolman before being promoted to sergeant three years later. Potter said he enjoyed getting to know his community during his time on patrol.
"It gives you an opportunity to really see how the world really works and how things really are," he said.
When Potter was promoted to lieutenant, he served as one of the department's investigators - something he did until he was promoted to chief of police in 1992.
During his time as chief, he had the chance to serve as the director of a three-agency regional narcotics taskforce and as president of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.
Although he enjoyed his job, Potter began to look for other positions after his community's economy started worsening and growth nearly stagnated.
"I had done everything I could in that department in terms of changes and challenges," said Potter.
He was approached by Huntersville officials early in 2004 and was sworn in as chief of police in November of that year.
When Potter arrived in Huntersville, he found a growing community that presented challenges he was more than willing to tackle.
The chief has overseen the addition of more than 30 sworn officers to the department to try to keep up with the town's growth. Potter said there were more than 28,000 people in Huntersville when he arrived while today there are an estimated 45,000.
During his tenure, Potter has also overseen a technology overhaul.
Potter said that in 2004 there were only two in-car cameras, which operated with outdated VHS tapes, while today 80 percent of cruisers have digital in-car cameras.
But Potter said that the improvement he's most proud of during his time here has been the growth of youth programs.
"We were able to create some juvenile safety-related programs in the summer months - Safety Town - and D.A.R.E. summer camps," he explained.
Potter is also proud of the agency's accreditation by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, an international award that honors professional excellence in law enforcement.
Although he gets to work on these types of long-term projects, most of his day-to-day duties include checking up on significant incidents and meetings that range from budgetary and personnel issues to discussing a complaint with a town resident.
His hours can be grueling.
"There's some days I have meetings that start early in the morning and I don't get home until 10 or 11 at night," Potter said.
He admits that his job can be stressful at times.
"It's very difficult to break apart and relax because if there's a significant issue or some sort of problem, there's always somebody calling the chief to make sure he's aware of what's going on," said Potter.
He added that he couldn't do it without the support and understanding of his wife, Susie, and his son, Bradley.
Potter said that by working out daily he has been able to release some stress. The self-described "sports addict" also unwinds by watching sports.
The chief was part of the 1970 NCAA Division III national championship football squad at Capital. Potter, who played center and linebacker for the Crusaders, also wrestled in college and went on to officiated both sports when he lived in Ohio.
Potter admits that his job could be much more stressful if it wasn't for the 83 sworn officers and 10 civilian employees in his police department.
"I think we have a quality group of people here," he said. "We've been lucky to be able to hire officers who are really committed to our values of honor, professionalism and dedication and do a good job out there."