Midlothian patrol officer Aaron Walters admits a career in law enforcement was never something he considered, but a ride-along with a with a Fort Worth police officer changed everything. 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.
Tell me how you got into law enforcement.
You know, growing up and going into law enforcement was something I never even considered. Even when I got up to 21 or 22, I never even thought about it. Growing up, it was hard for me to really focus on anything that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I grew up in a great home and had a great family, but I was beginning to get a little scared. Here I was, 22 years old and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had chased a bunch of opportunities down, but nothing really peaked my interest.
A buddy of mine who was an officer in Fort Worth asked me if I wanted to ride out with him one night. Within an hour, we were chasing a stolen car, and I knew at that moment that’s what I wanted to do. It was that adrenaline rush, that one moment in time that changed my life and gave me direction.
I’ve always been one to want to help people, I just never put that need to help with being a police officer.
I can remember going to the police academy and passing everything with high marks. That was something I wasn’t used to because like I said, I never really had any direction growing up and school was challenging, to say the least.
I started out in Joshua, and loved it there. I was able to do a lot of different things, which helped me be a better officer. But of course, with a family I was looking for an opportunity to better by pay, yet I really didn’t want to get into a large police force. Nothing like a Dallas or Fort Worth. Sergeant Hicks was living in Joshua at the time and working for Midlothian, so I did a ride out with him and I was sold right away, and I’ve been with Midlothian for two years. The folks here are great, they take care of us and for a family, Midlothian is a great, safe place to do that.
So you’re in patrol now. Do you see yourself moving into another department here in Midlothian? Someplace like CID or a more specialized field like property crimes?
Not really. You know, maybe something in K9 or drug interdiction, but both of those still keep me out on the streets. I love working out where I can meet people and help. I’m just not a desk kind of guy. I really look up to those veteran officers who have been on patrol for 20 or 25 years. I just admire the work they do. Maybe later on down the road I would look at taking on a corporal or sergeant position, but that would still keep me out working the streets, and that’s really where I want to be.
Coming from a small town like Joshua and then moving to Midlothian PD, where Midlothian is growing at a fast rate, how has that growth impacted how you do your work?
Well, you’re right about Midlothian growing. Just since I came on, we’ve ramped up our hiring just to keep pace with the growth. There have been a few times where we’ve been dispatched to a home or neighborhood, and we can’t find it with our GPS system or CADD system, so dispatchers are having to guide us to some of these new places that aren’t even on our maps.
One of the other things I’ve noticed is that Midlothian PD is a top notch department. When they look to hire someone, they aren’t willing to accept anything but the best, so we’ll gladly pull extra weight on patrol until while they wait for a qualified applicant to make their way through the academy.
Now you got into law enforcement a little later than some of the other young officers we talk to. You mentioned that it wasn’t even a consideration in your life until you were 22, 23 years old. What are some of the things you would tell someone who was looking at being a police officer? Maybe it’s a young kid in high school, or in your situation, maybe a little later in their life?
I think if you used my experience as an example, I would tell them not to be afraid to give it a shot. As I said earlier, you really have to want to help people, no matter what situation they’re in. That’s really central to what we do, but you’re never going to know unless you give it a chance.
There’s also a camaraderie and a very high level of dependence that we have on one another that’s just not in a lot of other occupations. I can tell you that if I’m in trouble out on the streets, and I can hear sirens coming my way…there’s no better feeling. To know that an officer would lay down their life to get a fellow officer out of a really bad or deadly situation is humbling. I would do the same, and I think any officer would tell you the same thing.