NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Metro police sergeant is making it his mission to make a difference as teen violence in Nashville and Middle Tennessee continues to be a growing problem.
Leaving the world a better place than when you came into it is a hope many people have but one that’s not always realized.
For Sgt. Ed Rucker, that’s why he became a police officer.
“Ultimately just to help people,” he explained. “I enjoy it. I really do.”
It’s not always an easy task helping people, including teenagers.
“The phrase that they don’t want to be helped, I get that a lot. A lot of parents say you can’t help everyone, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try and it doesn’t mean that’s not where our intentions are,” Rucker said. “But it also doesn’t mean we aren’t going to just put our best foot forward to help as many as we can.”
According to Rucker, the hardest part is not having enough resources.
“Knowing there’s just not enough, knowing there are resources out there that could help but for some reason we aren’t getting enough of those resources to jump into this situation and just help. That’s the most frustrating part,” he said.
No matter the difficulties, Sgt. Rucker said he is up for the challenge and then some.
When he’s not working for the West precinct, he’s spending time with his little brother through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program of Nashville.
“It’s just something I love to do. It means the world to me,” Rucker said.
Sgt. Rucker said he knows the influence an adult can make on a teen, especially since his world was changed by a mentor.
“I take it personal. I was actually the kid on the other side where a mentor came and hung out with me,” he recalled.
Rucker said he didn’t have a rough childhood or cause a lot of trouble, he just needed a little extra guidance.
“I wasn’t the best kid, but I wasn’t the worst. But like any kid with extra time on his hands, you get into things,” he explained. “My parents worked really hard. My father worked two full-time jobs. My mother worked full-time, so in between school and the next day, I was just pretty much left to myself to take care of myself.”
For an hour a week as a child, Sgt. Rucker said he spent time with his big brother through the nonprofit and now he’s doing the same thing.
“I go to the school and kids just run towards you. They show you lots of love and you just show it right back,” he said.
Rucker said sometimes the kid’s need is very simple.
“I think what we have to do out there is just what we are doing – have a conversation, talk to them. We need to find out not just what they are doing but why they’re doing it,” he explained.
The difference he said is clear.
“I know for a fact his [my little brother’s] grades have improved. His demeanor in his class from other teachers, they say he’s more relaxed and he listens more. He’s more detailed in his work. I really feel like it’s helping,” Rucker said.
For more information about volunteering with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, visit their website.