The following is a statement released by Larry Pugh, former Jacksonville police officer who is awaiting sentencing for retaliation and deprivation of rights. - Ed.
Press Release Statement
By Larry Pugh
To the good citizens of Jacksonville who have chosen to judge me or think they know anything about me, this letter is for you.
Being a police officer was the career decision I made at the age of 17. I once read somewhere that if your job is doing something you love to do, then you will never work a day in your life. I have loved and enjoyed my work as a police officer, and I have always looked forward to reporting for duty knowing the daily challenges would be uncertain and most likely difficult. Yet, I never second guessed myself for the decision. In my 10 years on the job I have been able to help those in need, to change the lives of some and the directions of others. I ve been able to assist the good guys and put some really bad guys behind bars.
It s always been my way to want and to attempt to do the best job that I could do. It irked me to sit and do nothing, when I could step forward and do something.
There are three types of police officers. There are the proactive, the reactive, and the inactive. It never occurred to me to be anything other than proactive. To be proactive is to go out and look for the criminals, initiate the calls and cases, to stick your nose into other people s suspicious business and catch them in the criminal act. This is what I did at the Jacksonville Police Department, averaging 14 arrests a month and one drug related arrest each week.
The majority of Police Officers are reactive. A call for help is broadcast and an officer is expected to react and to respond, and when it s over he can go back to drinking his coffee and listening to the good times radio.
Of course, there is the last type of officer, the inactive. This officer seems to trip over his own two feet in an effort to get out of the way of doing anything of substance, to not have to write that report, or to answer that call for service. They are often called Retired on Duty . We ve all tolerated them, felt sorry for them. In my ten years experience I ve worked with all three, including those at Jacksonville Police Department.
As a JPD officer, I had self-initiated more case closed by arrest reports and tripled the activity of most every other officer. I did all of this while working two extra jobs to help support and provide a better life for my wife and four children.
My proactive stance and initiatives were aimed at the illegal narcotics activity plaguing the city. In the 33 months I worked at JPD, I arrested 475 persons. 132 of the individuals were for drug related crimes, with a total of 242 separate charges attributed between them. That s 178 misdemeanors and 64 felonies. Neither did I discriminate between sex or race. 103 were male and 34 female. 73 were Caucasian and 64 Black. Additionally, in 2005, I personally investigated, prepared and wrote narcotic search warrants for the drug houses located on Williams, Bonner, Fuller, and Gilliespie streets. I hope you were able to see the results and sudden lack of traffic at all hours of the night.
I am proud, and my family is proud of the 10 years I served the public as a police officer, 5 of those years being served within Cherokee County. Because I worked primarily nights when the majority of law-abiding citizens were home sleeping, most of the public would not know or recognize me before the recent media attention. I have never sought special recognition. I received satisfaction knowing that all of those within the drug community knew me by name and sight and that I was always there watching and waiting.
The media has previously, and wrongly, reported that I was pulling over women and sexually assaulting them . That does not resemble the accusations, or the truth. My accusers, one and all, are crack-addicted prostitutes who will, undoubtedly, even after my eventual release, remain as such.
My decision to enter into a plea agreement with the federal government has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. If it did I would have readily accepted the prior offer of one year presented six months ago.
Mt decision was based solely on the best interest and welfare of my family, particularly my four young children who will be teenagers upon my release. I chose this position because I was unwilling to place my trust into the judgment of 12 jurors who have been bombarded by news and media of my assumed guilt.
As a Police Officer I am presumed guilty until proven innocent. Plus, in addition to the 30 years to life sentence the prosecutors were seeking, there were insinuations that I would continue to be investigated, as well as my family, until I bowed to the political pressure of the federal government to serve up an example.
I would ask anyone interested in helping my family to visit the following website for more information: www.helpfourchildren.com.