The Lumberton Police Department is saying goodbye to one of their long-time officers. Sergeant Brent Powell reached 20 years of dedicated service at the LPD and will be officially retired as of February 11. Powell is looking forward to having more time to spend with his family and enjoy some house remodeling projects.
Sergeant Powell says he has a lot of mixed emotions; “excitement, relief, and sadness. That’s been my family for 20 years.” He will miss his fellow officers and the camaraderie that comes with being in law enforcement together. “We all have that one thing in common that binds us and keeps us together.”
He has served under Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins’ leadership and Powell says of Chief Sullins; “He loves his officers and loves the public. He is dedicated to this job and it shows.”
Chief Sullins said “Sergeant Powell had a great career at LPD and we will be sad to see him go. We wish him all the luck in his retirement. He has served the citizens of Lumberton with great honor and our community is safer because of his diligent work.”
Before he began working as an officer, Powell worked in the air conditioning industry and said he was lacking in confidence. This job has helped him gain confidence and “become a better man,” he said. “It’s been an honor. I’ve learned and grown a lot.”
He admits that as he has become older; the job has become tougher. Powell considered how his children are growing and his parents are getting older and he wants to be able to spend more time with them. They will all probably breathe a sigh of relief as his time in this line of work comes to an end. When he was on duty, he says that his wife prayed for him every night. “The Lord has taken care of me and protected me,” he says.
Anytime an officer stops someone there is a risk. Powell says it could be someone who is cooperative, or someone who is willing to pull a gun on you. It’s a risk that he and every other officer takes each time they are on duty. Powell continues to say that a person has to be called to this job. It takes a certain “maturity and mindset” to be able to perform the job well.
There was much more to Sgt. Powell’s contribution to the community other than taking criminals to jail. He explains that he tried to take the time to talk to those he encountered. For illegal drug offenders, he said he understood they were doing drugs for a reason and needed help such as advice or counseling. His desire for them was that they could get away from drugs and find hope in God. There have been instances when people he has arrested have come back to him with gratefulness for the part he played in helping them change their lives. “It’s a privilege; it’s an honor,” Powell said.
One of the most difficult situations that he has been involved in was delivering devastating news to families of people who have committed suicide. “Seeing that someone has taken their own life; that’s always hard. You see what happens to the family. There is no easy way to do that. That was the biggest thing that I didn’t want to do was to have to give a death notification. It’s heartbreaking. I didn’t have to do it very often.”
Powell expressed thankfulness for the community’s support of him and his fellow officers over the years. “Sometimes it almost seems like every day someone wants to shake your hand, pay for your food, or tell you thank you. It’s amazing how the Lumberton citizens really do support the police department.” He appreciates the support of the Lumberton City Council as well. “City council supports us 100%. They back us and that’s a huge difference. “