BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
They are the protectors of a community, the ones that ensure safety and bring justice. The needs of a community are almost always put above their own. Who are they? They are the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, a group of individuals who are always seeking the welfare of Polk County.
It’s not just a job to the men and women at the sheriff’s department, it’s a calling. It is not just a 9-5, it’s a 24/7. No matter how stressful it gets, even in the worse possible days, it is their passion and their heart is to serve. Sheriff Scott Sawyer believes that he is the luckiest sheriff in Arkansas to have the men and women he works with on a daily basis, “I have 13 deputies that I work with daily and 13 jailors and dispatchers, all of which are great at their job and work hard for each other.”
Scott took over as Sheriff January 1, 2017, after serving in law enforcement for twenty plus years. While Mike Godfrey served as Sheriff, Scott served as his deputy sheriff. He believes that he has such a wonderful and dedicated department because of the past efforts of past sheriffs, Mike Olgesby and Mike Godfrey. “I really can’t express how grateful I am to have these men come before me. They have really paved the way for me and are part of the reason that we are able to do our job so well.” After assuming the responsibilities of sheriff, Scott appointed Randy Jewell as his Deputy Sheriff and Seth Smith as sergeant of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Although he may be the face of the department, Scott is quick to give recognition and credit to his deputies. “We have been so blessed to have the men working here that we do. Really, again, I credit Mike Godfrey for so much of that. When I got here, all these guys were already in place. We have high character guys that excel in their job and that makes what I do easier.” He is quick to point out that every person serving in the department was already serving their community in some capacity before they were ever a part of the department, “Most of these guys were serving in some way. Many of them were serving at the fire department. The guys that we have here, service is their heart, it is what they live for,” says Scott proudly. Another aspect of the Sheriff’s Department that many aren’t aware of is how tight knit of a group this is. Each of the guys view their fellow deputies as more than a co-worker, but a family. “We have a mentality here, ‘Do your job so others don’t have to’, these guys work hard for each other and that makes it even better,” says Scott.
One of the ways that Scott acknowledges that he is fortunate to be Sheriff is the community that he gets to serve. “Mena is unbelievable. We are so cared about by our community. I want people to know, I go to trainings around the state and I hear about the perception that other places have of their law enforcement. We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve Polk County.”
Another way that the Sheriffs Department takes time to invest in the community is through taking time to spend with area sixth grade students. “Each year sixth grade students come up here and we talk with them and give them a tour. It is one of my favorite days.”
The Sheriff Department also has a new deputy that the community especially loves, K-9 narcotics dog, ‘Otto’. “Everyone loves Otto. Everywhere we go the kids love him and people want to see him. I think people forget we exist now,” Scott says jokingly.
Scott believes that their job is so much easier to do when they know that ‘day in’ and ‘day out’, they have the backing of their community, that no matter the circumstances, Polk County stands behind those protecting them. In the face of recent unfathomable tragedy, Scott and the deputies saw most clearly the support of the community. “During our time of search and rescue for 5 days, we were fed by people in the community for three meals a day. We had food, snacks, and drinks, everything that we needed. It just goes to show you how even in the midst of something terrible our community cares for us,” Scott says humbly.
It isn’t just Scott and the local deputies that notice something different about the community, those who don’t call Mena home took notice. “We had 9 different agencies here working with us. A couple of FBI agents said to me, ‘We have been all over the world and worked so many different cases, but we have never seen a community like this. We have never seen a community show this kind of support’.”
Polk County is blessed to have the Sheriff Department that we do, not just because they do a good job, but because they genuinely love the community they serve. “I couldn’t be prouder to be the Sheriff of Polk County. I would not want to do this anywhere else. I know I speak for everyone in the Department, but we love Polk County.”
Check out the ‘Behind the Badge’ feature in next week’s Pulse for pictures and information on all the law enforcement.