Wanting to be a police officer during one of the largest periods of civil unrest to some may seem crazy but for John Jackson, it’s a dream come true.
Jackson joins the Stuttgart Police Department as a patrol officer and says he has been dreaming of wearing a police badge since he was a little boy. He was sworn in on July 13, receiving his badge from Chief of Police Mark Duke.
“I know it looks insane but ever since I was about seven years old I would play cops and robbers and I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” said Jackson, who is originally from Stuttgart but moved to Pine Bluff after junior high. “I never played the robber because I knew they were the bad guys.”
A former employee of Lennox, on and off for 19 years, Jackson was encouraged by his wife, Chienna Jackson, to make a career change when she noticed he had been unhappy for years.
“She knew I wasn’t going to be completely happy until I made this move,” said Jackson. “ She encouraged me to reach for my dreams, to step out on faith and not be scared of falling trying to reach my dreams.”
The number of black officers across the country is dwindling according to recent reports. Diversity amongst a police department is important to Jackson as he plans to play a pivotal role between the community and the police department.
Adding to the two black Stuttgart officers, who are both in the public schools, Jackson knows his role on the streets will be important. With a diverse police department, Jackson feels that will benefit community policing.
“I want to be the person who can bring understanding between the black community and the police department,” said Jackson. “Black people have a metaphor of talking and saying things that other people may not understand. I just want to be that mediator and the translator between the two.”
Jackson said he also wants to provide education to the community on how to respond and not respond to police officers for both citizen and officer safety.
“A lot of police officers aren’t bad,” said Jackson, who believes understanding needs to come from both civilians and police officers. “I want to be the person to let everyone know that.”
Currently Jackson is field training with SPD Sergeants and studying the law until he leaves for police academy slated for September.
“I’m a proud sister,” said Takeela Jackson.
Jackson said his sister and his mother, Sherbern Albrittion, have been his support system from day 1.
“They helped me during times when I couldn’t help myself,” he said.
Faith and family means everything to Jackson and now he wants to set an example for his children Justice, Bryson, Kingston, Brynden and Princeton, to not just chase your dreams, but overtake them.
Wanting to one day become a detective, Jackson wants to get to know the community. His family moved back to Stuttgart three years ago and now he sees this was all in God’s plan.
With drive and ambition, Jackson is ready to solve cases and get criminals off the street. His heart lies in solving cold cases and bringing justice to families who feel as if they are forgotten.
“I’ve been thinking about Michelle who disappeared here. We shouldn’t give up the search,” said Jackson. “God blessed me with this job. I want to help that mom out who lost her son to violence and solve that crime to give her peace because the killer is off the street.”
Jackson is overcome with emotion and very happy since he took his leap of faith to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I have a new light about me now,” said Jackson. “This is something that I always wanted to do since I was a kid. I really can’t stop smiling about it.”