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'Police Hero' Winner: An icon for self-improvement, selfless service

The victor of PoliceOne's first-ever Police Hero Contest is Jason Darbyshire for his essay on Sgt. Isaac Petterson. The finalists were voted on by our PoliceOne members, and it isn't hard to see why Darbershire and Petterson prevailed. Petterson stood out from an already outstanding crowd of heroic figures for going above and beyond for his deputies, his community, and his neighboring brothers and sisters in blue. If his accomplishes aren't enough to illustrate his hard work, the praise of a former student certainly is. Check out the finalists of our Hero Contest, here

By Jason Darbyshire

The idea of becoming a police officer was always appealing to me, so when the opportunity finally presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I remember sitting nervously with my classmates on the first day of the Academy trying to convince myself I wasn’t out of my mind for leaving a cushy sales job behind, while at the same time pondering what kind of cop I would be.

Within 5 minutes of Deputy Isaac Petterson teaching my first class, I knew two things for certain. One, I had made the right decision in coming to this office and two, I knew exactly the type of cop I wanted to be.

Sgt. Isaac Petterson. (PoliceOne Image)
Sgt. Isaac Petterson. (PoliceOne Image)

At the time Deputy Petterson was assigned to the training section, a position he appeared to have been built at a factory for. He continually looked for ways to better himself physically and mentally, thereby being able to not only set a positive example for new recruits, but also by continuing to make sure the training our office offered was second to none.

A few years ago he fell and fractured several bones in his face. Rather than complain about the situation, he used it as motivation to train harder allowing him to return to duty in time to watch his recruits graduate.

Over time, Deputy Petterson was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and reassigned to a new division. He not only took on all the roles and responsibilities that accompanied his new rank, but still managed to volunteer on his off days to ensure the quality of training was consistent with the high standards he helped to implement.

Sergeant Petterson also revamped the way daily briefings were conducted; changing them to a more hands-on, relevant experience. He accomplished this by injecting demonstrations of life-saving skills into the once mundane, strictly Powerpoint-driven affair.

Recently when an assault occurred on a peace officer in a neighboring county, Sergeant Petterson volunteered and trained deputies from that agency in combatives on his day off, for no compensation. He did so to ensure that they were safe, seeing them not as ‘just another agency’ but as brothers and sisters in blue.

He donates his time annually to the Make-A-Wish foundation's local event “Dream Night at the Zoo,” an opportunity for children with terminal illness to meet and greet local first responders.

Sergeant Petterson is rarely seen without a smile and his attitude is positive at all times. His easy-going demeanor is not reserved solely for his co-workers; it extends to the members of the community he serves as well.

It is this positive attitude and his commitment to selfless service both on, and off duty, that sets Sergeant Isaac Petterson apart. It is also because of his tireless commitment not just to the men and women in law enforcement, but to the citizens of our community as well, that he exemplifies the cop I want to be.

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