Every law enforcement officer has his own story to tell on how or why he got into the field.
For Robert “Jeff” Brown, the sinking economy played a role.
After working for more than 12 years in the automotive field, brown lost his job like hundreds of others when the Ford manufacturing plant closed in Atlanta.
With a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in criminal justice, Brown followed a new calling and applied as a detention officer with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
“I always had an interest in (law enforcement). I had applied to some places before I started working at Ford, but it’s kind of hard to turn down that kind of money and benefits,” he said. “That’s why I ended up going in that path.”
After paying his “dues” working in the jail, Brown is the department’s newest sworn officer and only the second since Sheriff Billy Carlisle took office to score first in his class at the Athens Regional Police Academy.
Brown graduated at the top of his class of 29 new graduates July 17 in Athens.
Jarrett Simpson, now a patrol officer, also graduated at the top of his class in January.
The 408 hour basic law enforcement training course runs for 10 weeks and covers topics such as familiarization with the criminal justice system, responsibilities as law enforcement officers, court proceedings and testimony, as well as criminal booking and what happens when a suspect is arrested.
The completion of the course represents the 230th session graduated by the academy.
The class began with 33 participants, but lost three when they could not score high enough in firearms or academics.
The Forsyth County resident will now spend 12 weeks training in patrol before assuming his new position in court services later this year.
Lt. Tony Wooten says Brown’s move to court services is by no means Brown’s last stop with Dawson County.
“I was very impressed with Jeff, and so was the [hiring] board. We were glad to get him for court services,” said Wooten, who supervises the division.
“He’s got a bright future. His talents are unlimited with his knowledge. He can do anything he wants in this department,” he said.
For the time being, Brown is happy serving the county in courts and warrants.
“Originally working in the jail what everyone wants to do is go to the road. With the court services position ... my son is 9 1/2 and he can understand what I’d be doing. It seems like it is going to be a little safer,” Brown said. “I’ll give it a try and see if I enjoy it. Right now it sounds interesting.”