Editor's Note: The three finalists for the open police chief position were announced at Monday's City Council meeting. Below, candidate Charlie Sewell discusses his law enforcement history and the direction he would help the department move toward. To read about candidate Tom Arnold, click here, and for candidate Jeffery Pearce, click here. The city must wait at least 14 days after naming the candidates to make a final decision; the June 20 council meeting stands as a possibility, as it will fall exactly 14 days after the finalists were revealed. The candidates are scheduled to talk with citizens at a public meet-and-greet on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Coach Ford Center's Reception Hall.
The City of Powder Springs website says: “people with a strong work ethic and sense of community pride settled in the hills surrounding the seven springs.”
The many amenities offered in Powder Springs today attest to the hard work of the people that still call Powder Springs home. I spent my career developing a reputation of having a very strong work ethic, and I envision working with elected officials, community leaders, and members of the Powder Springs Police Department to preserve the city’s family-oriented way of life.
The first time I knew that I was interested in becoming a police officer was when I was about 5 years old. I wasn’t sure what drew me toward that career, but it was always in the back of my mind.
My father, however, had a different career track in mind for me, and being a dutiful son, I listened.
As a teenager and young adult, I too felt the uneasy feeling when a police officer was near. Why would we fear the people that are here to protect us?
After I married, I told my wife that I wanted to be a police officer, and she said she loved me and would support my decision. My salary was cut in half, but my oath of office as a police officer was a defining moment in my life.
Citizens should feel safe in their homes, but perception of crime can be as frightening as actual crime. I support open communication and an open-door policy so citizens can recognize a safe environment and be informed. While growth and prosperity are common goals, it is my commitment to work to keep Powder Springs a great place to live, work and play.
I grew up in the 1950s and witnessed civil unrest. I also witnessed the brutality of some law enforcement officers.
I am thankful that today’s law enforcement has embraced a heightened degree of professionalism. I feel that it is my responsibility to promote that professionalism not only in the city I serve, but also throughout the state. To that end, I chaired a committee with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police that developed a new process of accreditation for all law enforcement in Tennessee.
I realized in college that learning to deal with diversity is strength, and I hope that I passed that onto my adult daughters and they will to their children.
I worked my way through the ranks from patrol officer to chief of police and tackled many of the jobs others shunned. Along the way, I realized one major reason people were afraid of police officers: They didn’t know their police.
When a child’s first encounter with the police is seeing a parent get arrested, how can that child not fear the police? While in uniform and out in public, I am always frustrated when I hear a parent say, “See that police officer over there? If you don’t behave, I am going to have him get you.”
Perhaps the child was misbehaving, but the child should be taught to behave without instilling fear in the one person they should turn to for help in the event of a crisis. My reaction was always the same: Down on my knees and eye to eye with the child, I would always say, “Mommy or daddy might get you, but I am your friend.”
I truly believe that by fostering a positive relationship between the police and citizens, the community is primed for solving problems and fighting crime. Police officers patrol in cars and seldom get the opportunity to understand the rhythm of a neighborhood.
The residents know when pedestrians are not from the neighborhood, or when the dogs bark because of the trash pickup. That information can be essential in solving crime. I maintain the concept of officers being on a first-name basis with citizens because citizens are often the best source of information for solving crime.
Becoming accredited can enhance relationships with the public, improve safety procedures, and make a police department accountable to the customers they serve.
I look forward to the opportunity to team with the police department to continue to work for distinction and to promote the total quality of life for the citizens and visitors of Powder Springs.