Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

October 24, 2012

Passion for being a cop

APD chief explains profession to classes at TVCC

Athens — More than a few years have passed since Athens Police Department Chief Buddy Hill decided law enforcement was the career for him. While some things have changed, his passion for the field has stayed the same.

Recently, Hill shared his reasons for becoming a policeman with the law enforcement classes at Trinity Valley Community College. During his speech, he talked about his history in the field, and offered some practical advice to students who want to create a career in law enforcement.

Hill said he became a law enforcement officer in 1991 when he was 20 years old.

“I was a lot younger than that when I decided that was what I wanted to do,” said Hill to the class. “As a child, I was a witness to a crime. Because of my age I felt totally helpless. I made a decision early in my life to help people who were in that situation.

“When you have something like that happen, it makes a strong impact on your life.”

These days, he’s in charge of the Athens Police Department, overseeing 26 officers and nine civilian employees.

He told the class that there are certainly jobs available for certified officers. In fact, he noted, he has a few positions open now. However, he said, becoming a police officer is not easy and past mistakes can haunt an applicant.

“We lose a lot of people in the background check,” said Hill. “The things you do now will follow you the rest of your life.”

He said those who want to work on his force must complete their state certification before applying. Then, he said, applicants go through an interview, a thorough background check, a polygraph test and a psychological evaluation before joining the force.

He offered three practical steps to the group.

First, he encouraged the students to remember that the decisions they make now will affect their futures.

“It’s always important to tell us if there’s been something in your past,” said Hill. “Trust is the most important thing to a police officer, and if I can’t trust you to come forward with your past in your interview I can’t trust you on my force.”

Also, he said, students should be careful where they put tattoos. Even that decision can have an effect on their employability.

“Please, think about your tattoos. We don’t allow anyone to have tattoos that would be visible in a uniform,” said Hill.

Credit reports, social media posts and all sorts of aspects of a potential officer’s personal life come into play during the hiring process.

“Just be sure to keep your business straight,” he said. “Facebook will follow you forever, and we’ve pulled YouTube videos as evidence in cases. Once something is on the internet, it doesn’t go away. The things you do after 17 stick around forever.”

These days, technology plays a big role in both the hiring process and criminal prosecution. Social media sites are investigated as part of the hiring process, he noted. And when it comes to criminal cases, cell phone records and even YouTube videos can play a role.

Second, he encouraged the students to make sure to get as much college as possible. While state certification for a police officer does require some college, more departments are looking for applicants with complete degrees.

Often, he said, departments will allow prior military or police experience to stand in place of some of the required college hours. But, said Hill, it’s not the preferred way.

“College hours are the best,” he said.

And by having those college hours, said Hill, students can follow his third piece of advice: Have a backup plan.

“This job is demanding. This job is stressful. This job is not for everyone,” said Hill. “And so having a backup plan is essential. If you come into the field and it’s not for you, what skills do you have to go another direction?”

After 17 years in the field, Hill said, he’s still sure the job is right for him.

“It’s like any other job. Some days it’s great, some days it’s not. But I still enjoy this job. I still enjoy helping people,” said Hill.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0005.JPG Hydrating first responders

    First responders were invited Wednesday to the Athens Brookshire’s grocery to celebrate a promotion formulated by the store.  When customers purchase five 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade, they will receive 200 points. Customers are encouraged to donate the Gatorade to first responders. The promotion will last one month. Shown, from left, are Brookshire’s Store Manager Charles Beasley, Athens Police Department Patrolman Wesley Hoover, APD Cpl. Billy Westover, APD Assistant Chief Rodney Williams, APD Lt. Jeremy Hugghins, APD Patrolman Taylor Chancellor, APD Sgt. Eddie Smith, APD Chief Buddy Hill, Athens Fire Department Firefighter Brian Davis, AFD Firefighter Aaron Munn and AFD Firefighter Payton Lambe.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif HC fine-tuning application to get CETZ funds

    It’s been three months since Henderson County got word that money has been allocated from the Texas Department of Transportation in the form of a County Energy Transportation Zone grant, but Commissioners Court is still fine-tuning its application to get the funds.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31 stokes mug.jpg Police arrest suspect with meth and scales

    A 47-year-old woman faces felony drug charges after she was arrested in Athens Tuesday morning.
    Connie Loraine Stokes was booked into the Henderson County Jail for manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and a traffic offense.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31 free concert.jpg Corbin to perform at Cain Center

    Easton Corbin will be in Athens on Sunday, Aug. 3 to say “Thank You” with a free concert at the Cain Center. The invitation-only concert will begin at 4:30 p.m. The concert is free, but a ticket is required. Tickets can be obtained from any Athens or Brownsboro Future Farmers of America (FFA) member.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31 Bark for life.jpg Bark for Life honors contributions of Canine Caregivers

    In honor of Canine Caregivers, Bark for Life, an American Cancer Society event, will be held at  Gun Barrel City Park on Saturday, Sept. 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    The event is to honor the life-long contributions of Canine Caregivers. It's an opportunity for everyone to be empowered through their canine companion partnership and to contribute to cancer cures.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bryan (pictured center) with the rest of team United States.jpg Mabank High School senior represents USA

    Amanda Woods of Mabank is very proud of her son, and for good reason. Seventeen-year-old Bryan Henderson, a senior at Mabank High School, just came home from playing baseball in Europe.
    In January of 2014, Woods received an e-mail from a college coach in New York. In that e-mail was an invitation for Bryan to join a 22-man baseball team to play 10 games against French and German National teams.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31 CCL Rotary.jpg Silent auction Saturday, August 9

    Andrea Pickens at Tri-County Ford is collecting silent auction items for the upcoming Rotary at Cedar Creek Lake Celebrity Waiter event. Celebrity Waiter, the largest fundraiser the Rotary hosts, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 at Athens Country Club. Any business wanting to donate an item to the silent auction can contact Kathi Nailling at 903-340-7597 or Andrea Pickens at 903-887-2121.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Third elementary school to replace Athens Intermediate School

    The Athens Independent School District school board approved campus realignment Monday that will go into effect for the 2015-16 school year.
    While full details of the plan are still being discussed, the district unanimously approved adding a third elementary school, while doing away with the intermediate level.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0128.JPG Laying Splash Pad bricks

    Workmen from Rosenberg’s Outdoor Designs of Athens are shown installing bricks purchased by individuals, businesses and other organizations at the Kiwanis Park Splash Pad.  Shown, left to right, are: Nick Rosenberg, owner of the company; Jonathan Perez and Gutierrez Concepcion.
     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Burton’s severance approved

    The Athens City Council on Monday narrowly approved a budget amendment from reserves, to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who is retiring at the end of 2014.
    Mayor Jerry Don Vaught and council members Monte Montgomery and Tres Winn entered yes votes, while Joe Whatley and Charles Elliott opposed the adjustment.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo