Editor’s Note: The First Responders Friday series is a weekly feature focusing on the men and women in law enforcement, emergency services and fire services who serve in our community every day.

Name: Copeland Mills

Age: 49

Years served total: 12

Rank: Police Corporal

What made you decide on this career path? I have always dreamed of being a police officer. Growing up, my friends and I talked about becoming police officers and how cool it would be drive a police car with lights and sirens. I had a few jobs in my younger years, but knew that my passion was to be in law enforcement.

What is it you love about working in your community? I have always loved the City of Jacksonville. I grew up here and have never left. I knew this is where I wanted to raise a family and help protect my neighbors in the community in which I lived.

Describe some of your favorite experiences in your career. I think most of my favorite experiences as a police officer was during my 6-years of service as a Community Officer. It gave me the opportunity to take the time to talk with a lot folks in the community about how we can continue to improve things in our city. I was fortunate to assist in organizing many community events involving our youth, which is always fun. It’s great to have us, as law enforcement, interact with the youth in our community even when it’s as simple as tossing a football back and forth!

Where else have you worked in the past? Describe the road to your current position. My first job was as a school bus driver while I was still in high school. Upon graduation, I was offered a full-time job as a custodian at an elementary school. During that time, I also delivered pizza part-time until I was hired as a security officer at the Jacksonville Mall. It was during that time that I began taking criminal justice college courses and later enrolled in the Basic Law Enforcement Training classes during the evenings. I submitted an application to the Jacksonville Police Department where I was pleased to be hired prior to graduating BLET. Twelve years later, here I am.

What was the most memorable case you’ve worked? While working as a community officer, I met a family in one of our apartment communities who had a child with special needs. The family was struggling with transportation to get to doctor visits and other appointments. I reached out to one of our local transit businesses for assistance. The business was able to provide transportation at little cost to the family. Today that child is in high school and still hugs me every time he sees me. That is a great feeling.

There is no question this profession gets more and more challenging every day. But I enjoy the job, I enjoy living and working in our community. Assisting others in need is what has kept me motivated to do my very best to keep our community a safe one.

It is because of the love and support of my wife, Candy and my son Terrell, that I have successful in a law enforcement career. I am approaching retirement on May 1 and look forward to spending more time with them.

 

Want to nominate someone for FRF? Contact Kelsey Stiglitz at kstiglitz@JDNews.com with the person’s name, phone number, what organization they work for and a brief reason why you think they should be featured.