Deputy sheriff stays after school

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2000

Features Editor

Even though some might think "yes, ma’am" and "yes, sir" are outdated and have no place in the new millennium, Sam Green was so impressed by those words that they changed the direction of his life.

"When I was growing up, I wanted to be the CEO of the Walt Disney company and make at least $100,000 a year," Green said, with a smile."But when I got older, I had a friend who was a state trooper. I was so impressed with his poise and the confidence he displayed and the way he said, "yes, ma’am" and "yes sir" to people. I decided I wanted to go into some type of law enforcement and be the kind of role model for young people that he had been for me."

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Today, Green is a deputy with the Pike Count sheriff’s department and he carries himself with poise and confidence and he knows how to treat people with respect.

"I think it’s a good idea for young people to say "yes, ma’am"and"yes, sir." There’s nothing wrong with showing respect when respect is due. I think we need to go back to some of the old ways were gotten away from," Green said, adding there is nothing demeaning about showing respect.

Green started working with the sheriff’s department two years ago and is also a full time student at Troy State University majoring in criminal justice.

As part of his course requirements, Green is enrolled in an adolescent psychology class and is working with children in the Troy Housing Authority Youth Drug Awareness After School Program held at the Joel Witherington Family Life Center.

When Green walks into the center dressed in his deputy’s uniform, he attracts a lot of attention.

"Most of it is positive but sometimes a kid identifies me with someone who came to his house and picked up his dad," Green said."They do recognize the uniform – and I hope respect it."

Green has quickly earned the respect of the children who participate in the after school program.

And, he has learned to understand them better and to respect their points of view

"Being here with the kids and getting to know them and the way they think of different things has helped me," he said. "When we are called into a domestic violence situation and there are children there, now I have a better understanding of what they are going through. Being here has helped me to be a better deputy and a better person."

And, being in the role of a teacher for just a short time, has deepened Green’s appreciation for teachers.

"Teaching has got be a real tough job," he said. "Teachers have to deal with so many different personalities and attitudes. They work under a lot of pressure and, yes, I do appreciate what they do for the kids."

Green said the after school program at THA is making a difference for a lot of children.

"They all need someone to show a little interest in them and take up time with them. Many parents don’t have a lot of time to spend with their children because they work and there’s no way to get around that. So, it’s important for children to have a place where they feel like they belong."

Green said the after school program helps build self-esteem and confidence in the participants.

"You’ve got to make a kid believe in himself," he said. "He might not be able to accomplish all he wants to but, if he keeps believing in what he can do and he keeps striving,, who knows what might happen."

Green said he hopes to instill in the young people with whom he comes in contact that the whole world is in their hands.

"There’s so much out there and it’s there for those who will believe in themselves and work hard and never give up," he said. "If we can just get that message across …"

Green sees many opportunities ahead of him to affect the lives, not only of children, but all those with whom he comes in contact.

"In law enforcement, we deal with people who are in difficult situations,"he said. "I want to learn all I can so I will respond professionally and make a positive impression, no matter what the circumstance. I want to be the best deputy I can be."

Green’s plans are to finish Troy State and continue serving the people of Pike County in the area of law enforcement.

"And I want to thank Sheriff Russell Thomas for giving me the opportunity to come out here and work with the children at THA. I also want to thank Taylor Barbaree (director of the THA Family Life Center) for working around my work schedule and my professor at TSU Mrs. McNellis for requiring us to get this hands-on experience. I’m a better deputy and a better person because of it."