Searcy Police Officers describe the tasks that demand their attention on a daily basis

Searcy, Ark., (LP) — In the world, there are about 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers, which is the highest amount there has ever been.  The number of officers has not been the only increase as far as the law goes however, there has also been a growth of about 5.3% in violent crimes occurring nationwide.  Another fact according to the preliminary FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, is that there has been an exceeding amount of 20,000 police officers killed in the line of duty.  In 2017, there have been about three police deaths in Arkansas alone, and the highest fatality of fourteen officers in Texas.

A wooden flag, owned by Adam Sexton, symbolizing police importance as far as being the protectors of the people.

During worst case scenarios, policemen see, smell, and hear of terrible incidents.  They deal with drugged out mothers who are unconscious while their children roam about an unsafe home all alone; they handle situations that force them to put their lives in danger.  They deal with so much, yet so little of people realize the gravity of a cop’s daily duty.  Whether they are giving a speeding ticket, or searching an area of land for a body, they deal with much more than what everyone typically thinks.  Some people believe that the police are not on the side of the people.  Others, on the other hand, believe that cops place the safety of the public above their own, working to keep the people of their area safe and sound.  On a daily basis, police officers deal with the media’s new and “improved” description of them.  Along with the horrors that may come from their experiences dealing with the people, they hear facts or rumors about them and must continue to hold their head high.  JL Tillett is a police officer in the Searcy area; his wife, Michelle Tillett, said that it is vital that you don’t dwell on the negatives of social media.  “You can’t compare your husband’s job of being a cop to what you see on TV.  You can’t play the ‘what if’ game.”

Each day, a police officer is faced with different situations, some that may be dangerous.  A cop’s job is to come to the scene of an out-of-hand issue and handle it, prevent accidents, and provide justice after unfair situations take place.  It can be very hard for families of police officers, because they never know if an incident that day is going to take their loved one from them.  Michelle stated that it is difficult not always knowing if her husband’s going to be alright.  “Each day is a challenge to not think about the possibility of him not coming home.  I have to choose to not think about it, otherwise it will drive me to depression.”

Depending on their specific job, cops can be required to handle specific instances and to respond to at what may seem like random times.  Detectives, such as Adam Sexton of Searcy, typically handle the situations involving the need for an investigation.  “On a daily basis, we see property and financial crimes such as burglary, forgery, and etc.  The most significant crimes in Searcy are homicide and robbery.”  Sexton also said that some of his daily duties as a detective are interviewing suspects, processing crime scenes, collecting facts, and preparing case files for prosecution.   “The thing that has stood out the most to me during this job has been working a missing persons case involving the murder of a child.”  Erin Sexton, wife of Adam, gave insight on what life is like when your husband is the law.  “I am glad that I have a husband that genuinely loves his job, although it seems that there is always something, life can be a little hectic at times.”  She also explained the significance of being understanding about situations that they may be called out to.  “Be supportive.  They see and deal with horrific things…what the average person never has to see or deal with.”  Other cop duties involve being on patrol, writing tickets, and security.

Officer JL Tillett of Searcy, Arkansas.

JL stated that as soon as he gets to work he begins taking calls.  “Some of the most common calls that we go on are vehicle accidents, security alarms, domestic disturbances (family fights and arguments) and abuse, debris in the road, theft of property and shoplifting and many others.”  He said that though these calls are common, each one is a little bit different.  “They are always unique when dealing with different individuals, personalities, circumstances and surroundings.”  Most of the scenes they are called out to must be documented in a report.  JL explained that a lot of the calls are due to arguments that have been blown out of proportion due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol by the people fighting, leaving them with impaired judgement.  “One thing I typically will tell people is that it’s okay to have a disagreement.  It’s not okay to get loud, disturbing your neighbors, and it’s definitely not okay to try to win the argument by physical force.”  According to JL, Searcy is not a place of a high crime rate.  “I could use statistics and crime reports to say that the crime rate in Searcy is average or even below, but what is average when you are choosing a place to live and raise a family?”  He pointed out that no matter where you go, there will always be issues amongst groups of people.  Even though Searcy is a great place to live, it is estimated to be growing, which JL says can bring about some challenges.  He said that one of the biggest challenges facing Searcy is the growing number of people who come here for rehabilitation and end up either quitting the program or getting kicked out due to behavior problems.  These people end up on the streets and cause issues with businesses and other people.  “The jail is not where these people need to be, but many of them will commit petty crimes to get a place to lay down and food to eat.”

There are other challenges that may come about depending on the situation, but JL explained that his daily duty as a police officer is well worth the effort.  “This is an exciting and enjoyable job, and I am grateful to God that I am able to do it, and to Searcy for the support we receive.”  Next time you see a police officer, thank them for their time and effort.  Remember that they put their needs aside in order to protect your rights, and consider their work as your inspiration to be a good neighbor, friend, and citizen.  “And maybe remind the few, if ill of us they speak, that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak.” -Michael Mark

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