2016-06-01 / Editorial & Columns

Behind the Badge

“Law Enforcement Anniversary”
By Larry G. Spence

Every year about this time I think about another year in law enforcement starting. This year, however, is a little special because the month of June is my law enforcement anniversary month and this year is my 50th Anniversary of wearing a badge of one kind or another. Fifty years is a long time in any profession, but especially in law enforcement. Those years hold a lot of memories, most of which are good memories, but also a few that were not. It all started because of a man named, "Smokey Joe Lebei," a police chief who would come by my intersection where I worked as a Patrol Boy, before school started and as kids were being released for the day. He would talk with me, share stories, tell me to listen to his radio as he parked his car and went across the street to the Goodyear store for a soda. He helped put the law enforcement bug in my spirit.

From that time on I wanted to be in law enforcement work, trying to make a difference, helping people whenever I could. After graduation I went to Washington DC to work for the FBI as a clerical employee in the files and communication division and the domestic intelligence division updating criminal files. After about two years working in Washington, I returned to Indiana to enlist in the United States Air Force. I finished basic training in June of 1966, and became the Air Force's version of a Military Policeman. We were Air Police when I enlisted and then we were changed to Security Police. Now they are called Security Forces. I Served in the Air Force from 1966-70 as a Security Policeman, which included assignments at Cambria AFS, California, 13 months at Pleiku Air base South Vietnam (67-68), and Scott AFB, Belleville, IL I got my honorable discharge in 1970 and almost immediately went to work for my hometown police department, Clinton City Police in Clinton, Indiana. I worked there from 1970 to 1976 before moving to South Texas where on June 1, 1976 I started working with the Willacy County Sheriffs Office under Sheriff Oscar Correa moving up in the ranks from deputy to Sergeant, and to Lieutenant- It was 1978 I started writing this weekly column which first was a crime prevention column. I later worked as Chief Deputy under Sheriff Raul Arevalo Sr. I continued with the S.O. until 1984 when I worked as a D.A. Investigator for the late District Attorney Edna Cisneros. On January 1,1985 I was sworn in as Sheriff and have been proudly serving ever since.

I've had the privilege of working with, and alongside many good men and women and it's been a blessing. I couldn't have gotten to this point in my career without them, and I am grateful for their assistance, and especially their friendship, I'm doing a job I love doing, and hopefully we've made a difference in some lives along the way. Thank you for your support. In the meantime, stay blessed and stay safe!

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