Maypearl Sergeant William Pakula has been with the Maypearl Police Department for two years, and for those two years he’s been a solid point of stability for the department that has gone through some challenging times, and now, with the addition of new Chief of Police Marlin Suell, is building bridges of trust and moving into exciting times for the department. The Daily Light continues its weekly “Behind the Badge” series, to be published each Sunday, in an effort to get to know the officers that serve and protect us on a daily basis.

How long have you been with the Maypearl police department?

I’ve been here with the Maypearl PD for almost two years. I was promoted to sergeant last month.

I went through Cedar Valley’s law enforcement program, and started my first law enforcement stint in Ranger, Texas, so I’ve only been with two police departments. I was in Ranger for six months. My wife is from the area, so the opportunity to come to work in Maypearl has been great.

By the way, congratulations on your promotion. So now that you’re a sergeant, what are your responsibilities going to be?

My responsibilities won’t be unlike what they were following the incident with the previus chief. At that point, I was made officer-in- charge and did administrative work as well as my normal policing work. Now, it’s a supervisory role along with administrative and supervisory components. I generate a lot of the reports for Chief Suell and the city council. Chief Suell has a lot more experience in law enforcement than I do, so I’m sort of helping him get familiar with the community and Ellis County. Every place has its own unique differences, and Chief Suell seems to be a perfect fit for the community. He’s got a strong, strong law enforcement background with a lot of great ideas to implement here.

This is a tough question, but how is the department and the community healing in the aftermath of the indictment of the former chief?

Honestly, I think it’s going really well. There’s been a lot of positive sup- port from the community. Chief Suell has stepped in and has done a magnificent job in reconnecting the community with the department, and also reconnecting the department back to the community. My strong belief is that the community has been able to disassociate that from the department. They understand it’s not what we’re about.

How many officers are currently on the Maypearl police department?

We currently have four officers that make up the department, but Maypearl is growing, and so is our call load. We’re having to work smarter and a little more efficient to keep that same level of service that the community expects and deserves.

You’re relatively new to the law enforcement field. What would you recommend to a kid here in Maypearl, or anywhere really, who might be considering a field in some type of law enforcement?

Their college education would be first and foremost. For a lot of fields in law enforcement, it’s a requirement these days. One of the reasons I was able to move forward in the sergeant selection process was that I had my degree. It helps in giving a solid baseline of knowledge, and shows that you can complete something from start to finish. It not only highlights the fact that you’ve got a well educated background, but displays initiative also.

So Ranger is a little bigger community than Maypearl. What’s been the biggest difference in your move here?

Yes, Ranger is about twice as big as Maypearl. They’ve got a college there, and with respect to physical borders of the community, Ranger’s a lot bigger than Maypearl. But at the end of the day, the change from one department to another really hasn’t changed in the way I interact with people. You know, people are going to occasionally make mistakes, but if you treat people with respect, you’re always going to have a great working relationship with folks, no matter what community you’re in. I think being respectful, firm and fair is what I try to do, so it hasn’t changed the way I work at all.

So it sounds like you’re pleased with where you are in your career?

I am. I like the town, obviously. Maypearl is going through changes now, which is exciting. I’m very new to law enforcement to be a sergeant, and as the community grows, there will be some great opportunities for advancement. I think a lot of that rests on my education, my beliefs on what an officer should be, and my experience as a manager. Before I came into law enforcement, I managed upwards of 60 drivers for a commercial trucking company. So yes, I think it’s a benefit to carry your life experiences with you into law enforcement. The lessons you learn in life are directly transferable to the streets as a policeman.

One last question. As Maypearl grows, how are you, Chief Suell and the department preparing for that inevitable influx of new citizens?

Well, the Dallas area has grown and moved about as far north as it can, so I think looking forward on the horizon, many agencies are look- ing for that growth trend to continue to the south. With the north side of Dallas essentially locked down, people are going to start moving into and around Maypearl. I know the city is working right now to expand their land rights in an effort to head off the expansion of some of the nearby communities. It’s a challenge that the city council and the smart people in long range planning are looking at every day.