MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Middle Tennessee police department says community policing is making a big difference in their town.
Like any department, Mt. Juliet’s police officers get a lot of calls but they aren’t always emergencies.
One woman explains how an officer helped someone on the street in the heat.
“We’ve got one of your officers here that was helping a lady with her tires. See nobody ever sees the good stuff y’all do,” she said.
Another man with car troubles calls to thank the department saying, “Y’all are sending an officer out to jump us off over here at the mall in front of TJ Maxx and I just want to call and thank y’all for doing so the officer was just super, super nice.”
The department calls it community policing and these are just some of the things officers do on their normal shift. News 2 hopped in the patrol car with Officer Justin Cagle to see what a normal patrol looks like.
Cagle likes to just drive through neighborhoods so everyone sees that the department’s eyes are peeled.
That’s where we found dozens of signs that tell you this house “Backs the Badge.”
Officer Cagle has no idea who made these but with everything going on right now around the world, it sure means a lot to him.
“With a lot that has been going on here lately, it’s very important to build a trust and a level of comfort with the people that we serve,” said Cagle. “It’s small to everybody else but it means a lot to us. Seeing kids wave as we drive through neighborhoods, that’s the best.”
The department’s slogan is “Community Strong,” so that is what they say they’re thinking about as they drive around patrolling.
During our time together, Cagle stopped a woman who had blown through a neighborhood stop sign.
“Do you know why I’m pulling you over?” said Officer Cagle.
“Oh yeah, I ran that stop sign,” said the driver.
“You did run your stop sign,” said Cagle. “And you live in here! In a hurry? Trying to get home?”
Officer Cagle brings her license and registration back to the patrol car.
“She’s got two kids just picked them up from school and a lot going on,” said Cagle. “I don’t think she’ll run a stop sign again. So we’ll see what she thinks about this.”
instead of writing a ticket, Cagle gave her a few gift cards to different restaurants.
“You don’t need a ticket. I don’t think you’re going to run a stop sign again are you? You’re going to stop. Here are some gift cards here is your license back. Y’all have a good day. Drive careful.”
She was so grateful after having a rough day dealing with two teenage girls.
Later that day, she went to Facebook to express her gratitude.
“I deserved a ticket and wouldn’t have been mad if I had gotten one. But it sure made me smile knowing that he cared.”
It is rare police officers have some downtime on the job but Officer Cagle shows us what happens when they do.
He met some neighborhood kids and joined in on their game of soccer.
Cagle had promised to bring back doughnuts and a brand new soccer ball and football to play with.
If these kids remember one thing, Officer Cagle wants it to be that officers shouldn’t be feared and are always accessible.
“It’s not a bad thing when police officers show up,” said Cagle. “You can call us for anything.”
The parents that were home at the time said these kids have been talking about this every day.
Officer Cagle said a big part in keeping any community safe is about how they treat people.
A few years back, Officer Cagle arrested a man for drug possession and now, four or five years later, he sits behind that same man in church.