John Wasson has done a fair bit of traveling in his law enforcement career and 19 years after that journey began, he has finally found the place that he feels most at home: Blythe.
He’s been a deputy sheriff in Richmond and Glascock counties, and has spent time as an officer with the Wrens Police Department, but it’s the open fields and the everybody-knows-everybody feeling of Blythe that has kept the 43-year-old at the city’s three-man police department.
“This is probably going to be my last stop,” Wasson said after some thought. “I couldn’t ask for a better chief. Everybody I work with is pretty good, and I like the folks out here.”
Wasson first answered the call for service in 1991, when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served until 1995, becoming a lance corporal.
After learning that he would have to shift career paths to remain in the military, Wasson opted to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle, joining law enforcement.
“I guess growing up with it you get kind of an understanding for what it is,” he said. “That’s what I always saw myself doing: law enforcement.”
Wasson became a Richmond County sheriff’s deputy in September 1996 after attending the agency’s academy in Blythe. He remained with the department until 2000, migrating to the Glascock County Sheriff’s Office and later the Wrens Police Department.
Law enforcement didn’t come easy, though. Talking face-to-face with people every day required building his social skills, and thanks to his children and his wife, Cheryl, Wasson said he’s become much more of a people person.
Blythe Police Chief Jesse Hornsby Sr. agreed.
“He’s experienced,” he said. “He knows the job and he’s real good at it. We never have any complaints about him. He gets out and communicates with the citizens and builds relationships with them.”
Wasson said he enjoys his job in Blythe because it gives him a chance to make a difference in other people’s lives. When everybody knows everybody, he said, your actions as an officer can greatly affect the community as a whole.
“What I like about it, in all honesty, is dealing with people,” he said. “With this job you’ve got a lot of power and authority, and you can affect someone in a positive way or you can affect them in a negative way. If I don’t use the ability that I have for good things you could really damage somebody.”
Wasson said he strives to maintain a positive attitude toward the citizens of Blythe, and that time flies while he’s working because he spends most of his time talking with others.
“There are a lot of good folks out here,” he said. “I feel blessed to be able to come out here and work for them.”