Larry Sapp: Master at foot patrol

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometime after midnight, a police officer stepped out of the darkness.

He made an arrest at the crime scene and those in handcuffs never saw it coming.

That’s the way Brundidge Police Officer Larry Sapp likes to work. That’s why he likes working the third shift.

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“You can see a police car coming a mile away but people don’t expect an officer to walk up on them,” he said. “I like to patrol neighborhoods on foot. You never know what you might come up on. I’ve surprised a lot of people.”

Sapp has been with the Brundidge Police Department for two years and his service has been extremely valuable to the department, said Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport.

“Officer Sapp is a very dedicated office,r and we are fortunate to have him,” Davenport said. “He takes great pride in his work and has a good relationship with the public. But, he has a no nonsense approach to his work. When he’s on the streets, he means business.”

Davenport said Sapp has been instrumental in getting some of the criminal element out of town.

“Officer Sapp lives in what used to be the retirement center,” Davenport said. “Now, it’s open to others. It used to be people shuffling around on walkers up there but now there’s a lot of basketball rims. A lot of suspected illegal activity is going on – things that we hear about but have no proof of. We get calls all the time to that area. But, since Officer Sapp has moved in, some of the renters have moved out. He’s a good deterrent to what’s been going on up there.”

When Sapp first moved into the apartment complex, he didn’t have a squad car and no one knew he was a police officer.

“When I saw what all was going on, I thought, ‘What’s this?’ But, it’s gotten better,” Sapp said. “I’ve caused some of the problems to move and I hope out of town.”

Sapp said, like most all towns these days, illegal drugs are a problem in Brundidge.

“But we’ve not got problems like many of the towns,” he said. “We’ve got marijuana, crack cocaine and crystal meth. Crystal meth labs can be anyplace and anybody can make it. So, we’ve got a lot more users than sellers.”

Sapp said the drug problem has got to be solved in the homes.

“Too many kids are not being raised right and there are too many bad influences out there,” he said. “When I was growing up my parents would have taken my head off if I’d done some of the things these young people are doing. Parents have got to be parents. Drugs are a family problem. As police officers, we do what we can but we can only do so much. Being a police officer is a tough job with a lot of responsibility but it’s what I do and what I want to do.”

There was no defining moment of revelation for Sapp. In fact, he’s not sure why he wanted to become a police officer.

After high school, he went to college but it got too expensive for his wallet, so he joined the Army and served his country for four years. Then, he worked at a Fleming Foods warehouse and also part time in delivery.

A friend, who was a police officer at the Dothan Airport, encouraged Sapp to try police work.

“He said he thought I would like it better than the Army so I decided to give it a try,” Sapp said with a smile.

Sapp, a Daleville native, worked with the Daleville Police Department for two-and-a-half years before joining the Brundidge Police Department and never missed a beat.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Sapp said. “You’ve got to keep your head on your shoulders if you want to die of old age. And, I want to go home in the morning.”

Much of the work that Sapp is called to do is “just helping people out.”

“We get calls for locked cars, to help people who have fallen, about snakes or possums in the house, just anything,” he said. “I like doing those things. We are here to protect and to serve and serving others is part of the reward of being a police officer.”

Sapp said he doesn’t plan to change professions again. “I’d like to be a chief someday and then live long enough to retire and sit back and enjoy life,” he said.