By the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Department
For the month of September, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to highlight someone who has spent a lifetime of service to our Parish. Captain Brett Cooper began a career in Law Enforcement 32 years and 2 months ago, and he is finally hanging it up! To know Brett is a blessing, and to work with him is a privilege. Around the office he is all smiles, cooking breakfast for his for co-workers regularly. Some would say he’s a big teddy bear, but this bear has seen a lot, and saved many more.
Captain Brett Cooper began his career in June of 1990 when Chief Don English of the Mansfield Police Department came to his house and asked him to take a job. Brett was just 23 years old at the time, and he would work for MPD until he accepted a patrol position under Sheriff Hugh Bennett in July of 1992. Brett served on Patrol, and Criminal Patrol, until around 1993 when he completed his D.A.R.E. certification. Brett was a member of the S.W.A.T. team when it was first founded in 1993. He served in S.W.A.T. under Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle for a total of 13 years. He was promoted to Patrol Sergeant, and also became an “Elderly Service Officer” for the parish. It wasn’t long before he began rising through the ranks of the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office, becoming a Lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and then Captain over the Patrol Division. Upon his retirement, Brett had been serving as the Captain over the Narcotics Division. He has served under three Sheriff’s since the beginning of his career, retiring under Sheriff Jayson Richardson this year.
We asked Brett, if there was a moment that he decided that he wanted to enter Law Enforcement?
“Growing up I always wanted to be one of three things: A Pilot, Military, or Police. I’ve always known I wanted to do one of those because I’ve always just had a heart to serve others. But it wasn’t until Don English contacted me and asked me point blank that I finally made my decision. I haven’t regretted it since.
What made you stay in Law Enforcement for 32 years?!
“It was God’s Grace that got me this job, and it could have only been God’s Grace that carried me through. I got saved shortly after I was hired, and when I say it really had an affect on my life, it truly did. I just feel like God placed something on my heart that never went away, and the heart is a good place to work from. Many people think that police work is all about arresting bad guys, but it’s really so much more. In no other job do you get such a huge opportunity to help people. Some in their darkest hour, and you can be there for them in the moment. That part of the job has brought the most fulfillment to my life, and I’ll miss it the most.
What advice would you give to someone considering Law Enforcement as a career?
“Search your soul. Ask yourself what it is you are seeking by choosing this career? You not only need to know if your heart is in it, but you also need to know if your heart can survive it. There may come a day that you have to pull a trigger to save a life. It’s a question you should take seriously and ask, ‘Can I live with myself when/if that happens?’ Also, whether most of us would admit it or not, we are all raised in certain circles. You will typically defend your own circle without hesitance, but would you also defend someone else’s? Can you be fair to all, and treat all people with respect, even if it may be someone you do not like? Because that is the type of Law Enforcement this world needs right now. So search your soul and be honest with yourself on those questions.”
What will you do now?
I think we will travel. Just pack up, point in a direction, and go. Explore the world around us and start a new adventure every day. No planning. Just enjoying life. I’m looking forward to it.
Sheriff Jayson Richardson and staff at DPSO are eternally grateful for Brett, and all that he has accomplished during his long career. He has certainly played a huge role in the betterment and safety of DeSoto Parish. Though he will be missed, we wish him nothing but the best in his retirement!