Law Enforcement Appreciation Week
The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce is thanking the men and women who work to keep the community safe during National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, May 11-15, 2015, with a luncheon for Conyers Police Department and Rockdale County Sheriff's Office on May 15 at 1400 Parker Road. The Chamber is asking local businesses to show their appreciation during this week as well.
When Dexter Harris was a youngster, his only dream was to become a police officer.
He began idolizing the profession when he saw how many men, who attended his childhood church, were officers of the law.
"Their job just seemed so cool," he said as he remembered what it was like to be 11-years-old.
Nowadays, Harris no longer has to imagine what it would be like to be cop, because he's been working with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office for almost 20 years - it will be officially be 20 years of service after June 30.
In that timeframe, Newton County native Harris, who's now a sergeant, managed to work in a variety of departments, including the Rockdale County Jail, investigator and judicial services.
"I done work so many different jobs since I've been here," Harris said with a big laugh.
He's longest tenure, and his admittedly favorite, position was as an investigator.
"I just liked going in and solving cases," said Harris, who worked in the criminal investigations division for nine years. "It's a lot of footwork, and then you're going all over the place and meeting different people from different agencies. It was always interesting."
Harris has been working in the Judicial Services department, where warrants, protective orders, citations and evictions are handed out, for the past year.
Even though he's been working in the RCSO for two decades, Harris has not gotten tired of his job. On the contrary, the 45-year-old wakes up just about every morning with a wide smile on his face.
"(People) ask me, ‘Why are you so happy?'" he said. "I tell them, ‘I like my job. I enjoy having to get up and go to work.'"
That's one of the prerequisites to being an officer of the law, says Harris. "I think you have to enjoy it. For Harris, the best moments of being a deputy is simply helping out the citizens of the county.
"You get your best enjoyment when you got out and help somebody. Like changing a tire or something like that," he said with his deep southern drawl. "You get the best enjoyment out of your job just doing small stuff like that. Knowing that you got the person who stole stuff from this person, you know you get great enjoyment out of it."
Of course, there is one thing Harris would change about being a deputy. The public perception that surrounds local law enforcement these days isn't the best, and he wishes he could alter the perception.
"Usually every chance I get, I try and stop to talk to the people out there," he said. "About the only thing you can tell them is that we're out here to help you. We're human. There's always going to be bad seeds out there. Those (are) the ones we get out of here."
Prior to working in the law enforcement, Harris served in the U.S. Army. He reached the rank of sergeant after eight years of service and duty served in Desert Storm.
The self-proclaimed "country boy" currently lives in Newton County with his wife of two years, Melba. They have three children between them, Harris' 19-year-old son and Melba's 20-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter.