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Local lawman graduates at top of police academy

POSTED: January 14, 2009 4:00 a.m.


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Jarrett Simpson has set the bar high for the next group of Dawson County Sheriff’s deputies.


Simpson clocked the highest score in his graduating class Friday at the Regional Police Academy in Athens.


“As long as I’ve been sheriff here, we’ve not had that happen — someone graduate at the top of the class,” said Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle. “But I’m not at all surprised, really. He’s an excellent employee, he’s intelligent and he knows what he’s doing.”


With a master’s in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi, Simpson joined the department in November 2004. He has served four years alternating days and nights in the detention center.


The Lumpkin County resident was promoted to corporal in September 2007, just weeks before Carlisle opened the county’s new law enforcement center.


“When I first started, my initial objective was to do what I had to do to get to CID (criminal investigations),” said Simpson, who was part of the academy’s 226th graduating class. “My goals have since changed, and a lot of that has to do with a lot of what I went through at the academy.”


The 10-week academy covers topics such as the criminal justice system, officers’ responsibilities and court proceedings, as well as criminal booking and what happens when a suspect is arrested, Simpson said.


The class lost nine of its 33 participants when they could not score high enough in firearms, academics or at emergency vehicle operations.


“It was actually a huge surprise to me at the ceremony to get the award,” Simpson said. “Because there were three of us that were pretty close together, probably within a point to half a point from each other.”


For the time being, Simpson’s job description won’t change. He’ll continue to work as a supervisor in the detention center. But he will be ready when called upon.


“If I stay in law enforcement long enough, I’ll get to CID eventually,” Simpson said. “A lot of what you’re indoctrinated while you’re at the academy is doing the right thing for the right reason. And if you’re in law enforcement, you’ve got to stop and ask yourself what’s the best way I can serve the community.”


He said the most appealing aspect, where he can make a difference on a daily basis, is with the traffic units.


“You don’t want to be out there writing tickets to every single person, but you want to be present, you want people to slow down, to travel safely,” Simpson said. “To me that is the most apparent way, as an officer, I feel like I can do the most in serving my community, protecting it.”


And, Simpson said, he’s in it for the long haul.


“This is where I got my start,” he said. “They’re the people that believed in me and sent me to the academy, gave me the opportunity to go and obtain my certification, so I feel a matter of appreciation, a matter of loyalty is due to them for giving me that opportunity.”


E-mail Michele Hester at


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