Police say they’re here to protect

Alisa Boswell

Calling in a sighting of stray animals, pulling over speeding vehicles and chasing down criminals with outstanding arrest warrants are all in a day’s work for Portales Police Department Sgt. David Meeks.

“If we have high crime levels in one particular area, we will increase our patrol over there,” Meeks said. “But for the most part, we try to keep high visibility in every area.”

Meeks has been an officer for seven and a half years and has been a sergeant for 18 months. He said the difference between being an officer and a sergeant, aside from extra paperwork, is being available to officers under him for advice and guidance with certain situations.

“I’ve watched him grow in the job to a sergeant and he is very dedicated,” said Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry of Meeks. “He cares about the people that work for him and with him and he is always trying to better himself.”

Meeks said some days are more action-filled than others, but there is always something to be done in the daily life of an officer.

Wednesday afternoon, Meeks was pulling into the drive of a Portales apartment building to back up Officer Larry Garrison as he responded to a harassment call.

Thursday afternoon, on his way back from the department’s shooting range, Meeks turned his patrol car around to begin the search for a criminal who ran from another officer.

“Any time we can help somebody or protect somebody is what’s most rewarding to me,” Meeks said. “In our code of ethics under our policy there’s an oath that says we are to protect the innocent and defend the weak. It may sound kind of corny, but I think that’s a really cool code of ethics.”

Meeks said one of the toughest parts of the job is situations where someone is badly injured, such as car accidents.

“You can fix the danger but not the injury,” he said. “I don’t like to see anyone hurt in any way.”

Officer Tyler Marney agreed with Meeks that the most rewarding part of the work is being able to help people.

“I love everything about it really,” Marney said. “I love to solve cases that put a smile on people’s faces at the end.”

Marney said the most rewarding part for him aside from helping others is being able to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, Dean, has been in law enforcement for more than 16 years and currently works for the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

“Handling a case that affects kids the most, domestic violence, child neglect and endangerment are some of the things that can be the most mentally trying,” he said.