While many people dream of being a police officer from the time they are a child, Bell County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Bradley had a different path.
Bradley worked night shift at a local gas station where local law enforcement often congregated, but after seeing their honorable interactions every day he decided to go after a badge of his own.
“Coming in contact with the different officers — they came in to get coffee and whatnot — they made the job sound exciting and I saw what they were doing and it influenced me to want to pursue that. I like the variety and it’s different everyday,” said Bradley.
He aims to change the way people look at law enforcement by respecting and empathizing with citizens when they need the help of the sheriff’s office.
“My favorite part of the job is trying to change people’s perception of law enforcement. People nowadays have lost respect and, arguably, rightly so in some cases but it’s important to let people know we’re still human and we’re still there to help,” Bradley said.
His journey in law enforcement began in 2013 when he started working as a bailiff at the Bell County Judicial Center, where he said his most important job was to keep the peace.
His most memorable case also comes from his time as a bailiff where he apprehended an escapee from a holding cell at the judicial center. The escapee led him on a chase through the courtroom. Bradley apprehended him and charged him with escape.
“That was kind of a big deal and the alarm that caused in the judicial center makes that whole ordeal pretty memorable,” said Bradley.
He life as an officer changed in January of this year when he started on patrol.
“I get more flexibility as far as the schedule is concerned, but it’s more exciting and there’s more to get into when you’re working an entire county as opposed to just the courthouse,” said Bradley.
He was born and raised in Middlesboro. He is a 2005 graduate of Pineville High School and currently lives in Pineville.
He considers himself an exercise enthusiast who enjoys hiking, traveling and playing drums. Before his time with the sheriff’s office, Bradley was a touring musician who toured the nation and played concerts with a band.
“Somebody has to do this job and, as law enforcement, we need to do it the best we can. I think it’s important in every contact I make with someone out in the field that they walk away with a little bit more respect for law enforcement having encountered me. That’s my goal,” said Bradley.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.