As a youngster, Deputy Joseph B. Hutcherson didn't have to think much about what he wanted to be when he grew up. His father was a police officer and his uncle, too; police work was the family business. “From birth, I was raised to be a police officer,” Hutcherson, HHS' new School Resource Officer, told The Ville News recently. “Everything I was taught was to end up in this field.”
He started with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department in 1995 and soon moved to the Sumner County Sheriff's Department, where he has worked for 22 years. He's been a patrol officer, field training officer, traffic crash reconstructionist and - his favorite position so far - a motorcycle officer.
Hutcherson spoke to The Ville News last week about his latest assignment at HHS. His edited remarks are below.
Q. Why did you decide to become an SRO?
A. I just wanted a change. I have been a police officer for 24 years, and I just wanted something different.
Q. What is the biggest difference between this job and your other positions?
A. When you go to a call as a patrol officer, everything is out of control. People are mad and cussing. Here, I like the atmosphere. Every morning I come in and ya’ll are happy, ya’ll are excited - maybe not to go to class, but excited to see each other, to socialize with each other. I love it. I hope I get to stay.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish as SRO?
A. The main thing is I just want to be approachable. I want people to feel comfortable when they talk to me and not think I am just a cop. I want to help people when they ask questions and need help.
Hopefully, students will realize that we’re (police officers) not all (jerks). The outlook on law enforcement in today’s times is not good. A lot of it is our fault, but I hope to change that. (Deputy Hutcherson also places some blame for a negative perception of police officers on social media, which he said can mislead by showing only a small portion of what actually happened in a situation).
Q. How will you handle disciplinary issues at school, things such as vaping, drugs and fighting?
A. By charging them - every time. I guarantee that if you do it, I will charge you. I would charge my own kids (he is the father of four) if I saw them doing something like that. So I’m not going to say, ‘No, it’s okay, I know you, just don’t do it again.’ The rules are there for your safety.
Q. With everything you’ve seen during your years in law enforcement, would you encourage young people to pursue it as a career?
A. Absolutely. I hope someone in this class goes into this field. We need good people. We need officers. I love my career, it’s given me all types of opportunities. The sky’s the limit. You don’t have to be just local law enforcement, you can be federal, you can go into the military. It’s endless the possibilities you can do. You won’t make a lot of money, but if you like helping people, if you like making a difference, if you like seeing the after-effect of what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished, then law enforcement is definitely a place that you should consider.
Q. What are your interests outside of work?
A. I enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, baseball, motorcycles (his favorite bike is a Harley-Davidson Road King) and spending time with my family.
Story by The Ville News staff