Citizens Certificate Of Merit: We Before Me

When Argyle Police Chief Emmitt Jackson was sworn in at the beginning of this year, he told everyone in attendance that his top priority as chief of police was to make his department a community-focused police agency.

Since then, we have seen officers and the chief out at many community events, engaging with residents through social media, and proactively demonstrating what it means to police the town collectively — law enforcement and citizens together.

After a vehicle incident on July 16 involving heroic actions taken by John Daniel Hammons, an employee of the Argyle Water Supply Corporation, Chief Jackson implemented the Citizens Certificate of Merit program.

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“The Citizens Certificate of Merit is a formal commendation created to acknowledge the meritorious actions of Argyle citizens or citizens who have assisted the Argyle Police Department,” Chief Jackson said. “This commendation will be awarded when citizens commit acts that display uncommon bravery, heroism, or selflessness.”

Mr. Hammons was driving his company truck at the intersection of FM 407 and US 377 when he observed another motorist who was having a seizure. This individual was unable to control their vehicle and was passing through the busy intersection.

“Mr. Hammons drove in front of this individual’s vehicle and allowed the two vehicles to collide so that the person experiencing the seizure could come to a stop safely,” Chief Jackson said. “This act no doubt avoided injury to the other individual and likely prevented a more serious collision.”

An officer was dispatched to the scene, and after learning the full scope of the situation, passed the information along to the Chief believing that Mr. Hammons went above and beyond.

“We hope that, by recognizing great deeds by our citizens, we can remind people that it takes everyone looking out for one another for us to be a great community,” Chief Jackson said. “Too often people think, ‘I won’t get involved. It’s not my problem,’ or simply look on from afar. We all need reminding that true empathy is more than just feeling, it’s doing.”

Chief Jackson awarded John Hammons with the certificate on July 29, honoring him for his act that went well beyond the norm.

“This award was created because I wanted to have a way to honor and recognize citizens who embody our department’s mantra of ‘we before me,’” Chief Jackson said. “Community policing is a partnership, and I wanted a way to recognize that everyday citizens do amazing things to help keep our community safe.”

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Citizens will be awarded as worthy actions are brought to the police department’s attention. This could be from the observations of an officer or recommendations by residents who hear about or see great deeds done by other citizens.

“We are excited about the prospect of shining a light on citizens who make our community better through their regard for others and self-sacrifice,” Chief Jackson said. I believe we have a first-class police department with amazing men and women. What separates us from other great departments, though, is the way that our community supports us and each other.”

photos courtesy of Chief Emmitt Jackson