BY JACLYN ROSE –
Scott Sawyer, the middle child of a family of seven, grew up all over the country. His father was in the paper industry and would move his family every two to three years for work. When Sawyer was in the 8th grade, his family moved to southeast Washington State where they settled for the remainder of his secondary education. After completing high school, Sawyer went on to college in Seattle. During that time his parents took the advice of some friends who recommended they move to Polk County and they settled in Vandervoort. While visiting his parents, Sawyer developed a fondness for the area and decided to move from Washington State to Arkansas. “Larry Harmon, Chief of Police in Grannis at the time, lived next door to my parents and when I came down for a visit I met him. He found out I was majoring in criminal justice and after visiting for a couple of days he offered me a job. I honestly thought I would live here a few years, get my foot in the door in law enforcement and then move back to Washington State but I fell in love – with my wife and with the county, and decided to stay,” explained Sawyer.
In 1997, Sawyer married his wife, Cindi, a Grannis native. They have two kids, a daughter who is a freshman at Mena High School and a son, a 7th grader at Mena Middle School. “I spend a lot of time with my kids, coaching their baseball, softball and football teams; I feel it’s important for parents to spend that time with their kids. Too many people expect other people to raise their kids: churches, the law enforcement, and their schools. As a parent it’s my job, they are my kids. My wife and I are very involved in our children’s lives,” said Sawyer.
After a couple of years with the Grannis Police Department, former Polk County Sherriff, Mike Oglesby, hired Sawyer to work in his department. He is now Chief Deputy for the Polk County Sherriff’s Department. “As law enforcement, I would really encourage parents to know where their kids are and what they are doing and who they are with. Unfortunately, we have kids here that we call ‘throwaway kids,’ they are children whose parents just toss money at them to get them out of their hair. Those kids need their parents to be involved in their lives.” Sawyer has also spent one day a week for the past 13 years at the Mena ALE (Alternative Learning) Program, time he feels is very well spent. “I really enjoy my time with the ALE kids. Many of these are those ‘throwaway kids.’ They are some good kids, many of which don’t have a good male role model,” explained Sawyer, “I really enjoy that part of my job.”
As someone who has had the opportunity to spend time in many different parts of the United States, Sawyer has a unique perspective on Polk County. Sawyer explained, “I have lived everywhere, all over the country from the east coast to the west coast and up north; Polk County is unlike any place I have ever lived. The people here are great. I think about when we have a fire or a wreck, there are people who don’t get paid but will volunteer to stand out in the rain, or snow, or ice, to help their neighbor out. I love the community here. I have been given offers to go to other places but I would not raise my kids anywhere else. My family and my wife’s families are here and we love this area.”