By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
KEMPNER - In the budget, Kempner Police Chief David Sheedy is a lone ranger, but on the city streets there are many more willing to serve and protect.
Kempner's police department operates with one paid full-time officer, Sheedy, and on average about eight reserve officers, who donate their service and time as volunteers to protect and serve the community.
"I like staying busy, and I like working in rural Texas," said Mike Lock, a Kempner reserve officer who provides about 70 hours of coverage a month for the city, about why he volunteers.
Sheedy and the reserves don't maintain 24/7 coverage, so the Lampasas County Sheriff's Department fills in the gaps and also provides resources for investigations.
"We would be sunk without them," said Sheedy about his officers who work anywhere between 10 to 80 hours a month.
The reserves patrol the streets for traffic violations, they watch for city code violations, and respond to calls from residents. Sheedy does all the same but is also responsible for the police department budget, planning, writing letters for code violations, and he still finds time to contribute to county lead investigations.
"It is really nice just from the point of going from a department that wasn't doing much and now we are," said Sheedy, who contributed a lot of the work to his devoted reserves.
City secretary, Trudy Davis said under Sheedy's leadership the police force has been dolling out an average of about 30 citations a month, but more importantly making sure their presence is seen in the community.
"The reserve officers we have now are more actively enforcing…," said Davis. "I think we have a better reserve force then we have had in the past, and the police chief is a better communicator with the public."
It is officers like Lock, who retired from law enforcement in July 2004 but still wants to provide the service, that makes the department run efficiently and effectively.
"I just enjoy helping the communities who aren't like the big cities, that don't have all the resources," said Lock, who has 35 years of experiences in law enforcement and now lives in Lampasas.
Sheedy himself has been in law enforcement since 1987 on and off. He has served as a military police officer and in the sheriff's departments in Bandera, Uvalde, and Real Counties.
"I have had a few other jobs but I have always come back here," said Sheedy about policing. "We are just a law enforcement family, basically. I like the work, helping people, and the freedom."
Sheedy said there are so many different things you can do as a police officer such as community service, running traffic, investigating, and more.
Sheedy became the city's police chief in December 2008. Since then he has increased the reserves staff, but also established a city wide national night out program, which has brought more than 200 residents together every year for the last three years.
"The police department has a larger presence now," said Davis. "People see them a lot more. The population used to think you should go to the gas station when you would want to find an officer."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.