Editor's note: This is the last in a three-part series on three new sergeants at the Walker County Sheriff's Office.Kevin Emberg is living his childhood dream."I knew that I wanted to be in law …
Editor's note: This is the last in a three-part series on three new sergeants at the Walker County Sheriff's Office.
Kevin Emberg is living his childhood dream.
"I knew that I wanted to be in law enforcement ever since I was a kid. I was in love with policing," said Emberg, who was recently promoted to patrol sergeant of the midnight shift at the Walker County Sheriff's Office (WCSO).
In his youth, Emberg proudly wore a T-shirt that had an official WCSO patch sewn on each sleeve.
His dream was deferred when he moved to Nashville seeking a degree in theology and ministry. His ultimate goal at that time was to become a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.
However, he couldn't deny his calling to law enforcement for long. He applied at Metro Nashville Police Department but was never asked to come in for an interview.
By the time the call came, he had already moved home and accepted a position at WCSO.
Emberg joined the department in May 2012. He became a patrol deputy after a 13-month stint in the jail.
After the election of Sheriff Nick Smith last year, Emberg was promoted to sergeant and placed in charge of the department's new Explorer program, which gives youth between ages 14 and 20 a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement.
The program is a recruitment tool in a time in which departments nationwide are having trouble finding qualified applicants and the number of officers working is on the decline.
Recruiting youth for the Explorer program has not been a problem for Emberg. More than a dozen signed up during an open house held at the sheriff's office in early March, and seven more attended the first meeting on March 21.
The total number involved now stands at 22.
The group holds biweekly meetings and takes part in community events. During the recent countywide cleanup, Explorers picked up 22 bags of trash in Empire.
Those 16 and above are eligible to participate in the complementary ride-along program.
After they age out of Explorers, they are invited to join the department's reserve program, a training ground for future WCSO deputies.
The Explorers program is just one of several new ways that deputies and administrators are attempting to engage with the community members they serve.
"We want the community to know we care," Emberg said.