A Calling to Law EnforcementBy ELISA MAYO,
A Calling to Law Enforcement
The dream of working in law enforcement began early for Anthony Chancelor, “Sheriff Kemp remembers me wanting to ride in his squad car when I was four or five years old. My mama worked at the E-911 and Emergency Management office, which was near the sheriff’s department at the time,” says Anthony. His childhood dream became a reality in 2004 when Sheriff Kemp hired him to work as a 911 operator two weeks before his high school graduation. “I’ve wanted to do it my whole life. I enjoy the thought of helping people. When I first started the work, I enjoyed the thrill of it. I’d be a liar to say I didn’t, but the older I get the more I realize that it is a calling. There is no doubt in my mind that God has me where he wants me,” he explains.
Anthony is married to Mallory and they have five children, which makes the call to protect and serve in Clarke County all the more personal, “This is where my kids and wife live and I want to keep the county as safe as possible for them and for everyone else.”
Anthony has worked in many different areas of law enforcement from the 911 dispatch office, to the City of Quitman, and the Mississippi Highway Patrol, to the position he now serves in as a deputy at the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. His varied experiences have helped him gain an understanding of the duties of law enforcement, “I feel like it’s important to work in all aspects of an operation to understand it and I’ve been able to do that.” The Clarke County Sheriff’s Department has several divisions including the road officers, narcotics investigators, and criminal investigators. Anthony currently serves as a road officer, “Road officers answer any and all calls sent through the dispatch office. We never know what we may run into. I believe the reason we do what we do is so someone else doesn’t have to. It’s amazing how God puts us on a path. We may not understand why we are on that path and it may take years to understand it, but I feel like God lined me up to do this,” explains Anthony.
The sheriff’s department handles orders out of the chancery, circuit, and justice courts of the county. The work is extensive and varied. Sometimes it is life-changing, “Some guys have more issues with things we see than others. We all deal with things differently. We are a family. We reach out to help the families deal with the issue and then we come back together and debrief each other. Sheriff Kemp is a big part of why we have a family unit at the sheriff’s department. We take care of each other. We rely on God more than anything else,” says Anthony. His passion for the brotherhood brings tears to his eyes as he says, “We pray before our meals together thanking God for the day and for keeping us safe. Before we go out on an operation or go into a high-risk situation, we are going to pray and that’s what gets us through it. We give all the credit to God.”
Anthony says the camaraderie the team has built has led to a low turnover rate in the department. The team's similar beliefs have melded them together. “I’m proud of the department Sheriff Kemp has put together. It’s been said we have front row seats to the best show on earth,” laughs Anthony, “Sometimes it is aggravating, but it’s very rewarding. When we go to a home and talk to a child or anybody having a bad experience, and we feel like we have helped them, it’s rewarding. Helping someone at an accident scene is also rewarding. It’s a good job. This is our county and this is where we live. If I can make an arrest or help somebody and it benefits our county, it’s a win to keep our community safe.”
Anthony admits it can be difficult enforcing the law in a small, close-knit community, “Some people you can’t reason with, but they are a small percentage of the people. However, most of the time if you treat people like a human being and do the business that is required of us, they will often come back later and thank us or even apologize for their actions.” Those moments help bridge a gap between the officers and the community. There are times Anthony wishes the community could experience what the officers deal with on a day-to-day basis, “They would probably have a different view of our profession. Without law enforcement, there would be anarchy. Our goal is always to continue working for the good people of our county.”
Besides working with the community, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office also works closely with each police department, “We all back each other up. We have a good relationship among us and we know that we can call on each other for assistance. We all have the same goal in mind,” explains Anthony.
Deputies receive on-the-job-training, as well as, a 12-week training at the police academy. Deputies are tasked with enforcing the law throughout the community and are often the first to experience life-threatening, dangerous, and heart-breaking events. Anthony says, “It’s not a job for everybody. It’s a calling and it’s not for the faint of heart. But, it is something I am passionate about.”