back to the community
When Walter Harrell was a little boy, a police officer put him on a motorcycle and gave him a helmet -- that was all it took for Harrell to decide he wanted to be a cop when he grew up.
"I knew then that's what I wanted to be -- a policeman," said Harrell, who is Chief of Police at the Kingston Police Department.
Harrell, a native of Memphis, Tenn., said he's glad to have had the opportunity to become a policeman."I felt this was a way to give back to my community and help others."
Before Kingston, Harrell worked with the Georgia World Congress Center, Bartow County School System and several other agencies. He started his career in 1978 with the Cartersville Police Department.
Harrell said the best part about his job is helping others and giving advice.
"The worst part is the hours," he said. "Being a chief you normally work Monday through Friday but under [some] circumstances, you may have to work odd hours."
There are only two people on Kingston's police force to cover the city's population of about 700.
Harrell said while there are no ceremonies planned for National Police Week in the city, he has been invited to a ceremony in Rome. However, blue ribbons will be tied to the antennas of the police cars.
A misconception Harrell wants to clear up is that all policemen are bad.
"There are a few bad apples in a bunch, but not all police officers are bad people," he said.
Harrell, who has a business degree from Shorter College, said if he wasn't a police chief, he'd probably be a teacher. He taught public safety at Woodland High School.
Harrell is married to Teresa and has two daughters and four grandchildren.
Looking for a job
While at Kennesaw State University, like most college students, Stan Bradley was in need of a job.
A former park ranger, Bradley admired the rangers' work ethic, and when he saw a job opening with the University of Georgia's campus police, he applied.
"I've been doing it ever since," said Bradley, Emerson's Chief of Police for three years.
Bradley also has worked with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office and as an investigator for the Public Defender's office.
"What I like most about my job is working in a small town and seeing the difference we make," he said.
The least favorite thing about his job is seeing people in a desperate situation. "You can't help them when you really want to, like someone hooked on drugs," he said. "They are so far gone you can't help."
There are 11 policemen on Emerson's force and the patrol cars will fly blue ribbons in honor of National Police Week. Bradley said he would like to clear up the misconception about police that it's "us versus them."
"That's not true. Policemen get in [the business] because they want to help make the community a better place," Bradley said.
Bradley is a native of Cartersville and has been married to Dana for eight years. They have three children.
A special calling
Ronnie Raines' tattoo has a special meaning for him. It honors policemen and firemen who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It says, "Never forget."
Raines was a fireman for five years before leaving the career. The next day he became a policeman, and for nearly 25 years, that's what the Calhoun native has been.Raines is the assistant chief with the Adairsville Police Department.
In honor of National Police Week, Raines said the department flag will be flown at half-mast and officers will wear mourning badges. Blue ribbons also will fly from the patrol cars.
Raines, the son of a minister, said he has always enjoyed helping people.
"There is a lot I can do without being a minister," he said. "I have my own way of dealing with people."
Raines said being in law enforcement is an adventure.
"It's not repetitious, and you never know what the day will bring," he said. "It's a learning process every day."
Raines has been with the Adairsville Police Department for 12 years. There are 14 policemen on the force.
He said what he dislikes most about the job is trying to help people who do not want to accept it.
"You see the good [in people], but they tend to not want to grab it," he said.
A career in law enforcement is not for anyone; Raines said there are misconceptions that officers make lots of money. "It takes some special [people]. You have to love helping people [because] it's not a job you're going to get rich at."
"There is more to the job than people think," Raines added.
"It's our job to help people. We're here for more than just putting folks in jail," Raines said.
A dream fulfilled
Young Clark Millsap had one dream, and it's safe to say he's living it.
"It was always was my dream to be sheriff of this county," Millsap said.
While a student at West Georgia College, now known as the University of West Georgia, Millsap spoke to people in law enforcement during career day. Upon their advice, he began working in law enforcement after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
He worked as a patrolman, deputy sheriff and investigator at the BCSO and the Cartersville Police Department before going back to the BCSO.
"I'm now in my 11th year [as with Bartow County Sheriff] through the grace of God and people of Bartow County voting for me," he said.
Millsap said he appreciates being recognized along with policemen. In honor of National Police Week, the deputy's patrol cars will fly blue ribbons from the antennas.
Millsap said he loves what he does.
"I see something new every day and get to help people," he said. "You come in contact with great people and it's a great thing."
Millsap said his least favorite aspect of the job is when people complain about deputies that are just doing their job correctly.
There are 260 deputies at the BCSO and Millsap said they are still hiring for the new jail.
Millsap, a native of Cartersville, has been married to Lori for 19 years. They have three children.