Most people would probably rather not run into someone they helped put in jail, but that’s not the case for Sergeant Curtis Judge of the Vicksburg Police Department.
Judge considers these moments as the most rewarding part of his job and said, “When I run into someone I’ve arrested, they usually thank me for what I’ve done for them. They tell me that I had a hand in changing their life for the better.”
Judge, the 2015 Officer of the Year for the Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club, said being an effective law enforcement officer requires wanting to be that positive difference in people’s lives. “You have to care about people, even if you’re arresting them,” he said.
While most people are grateful for the job Judge does, he sees a concerning trend in the way some people view law enforcement. “The actions of a few officers has changed the way some people view all officers. There is an alarming lack of respect for law enforcement out there. We need our peace keepers.”
Judge said COVID-19 also brought about a trend he doesn’t like. “I like to connect with people face-to-face. I like to be able to really talk to them, and look them in the eyes. Covid has changed a lot of that.”
When it comes to being scared on the job, Judge said, “Although we train to be brave and put fear aside, having fear keeps you aware of your surroundings and questioning the unknown. In hindsight, that’s what keeps you focused.”
Judge credits his parents for teaching him what it means to be a good leader, saying, “They taught me right from wrong, to respect others, and to represent my family and myself with pride in everything I do.”
It’s this desire to help people that got Judge awarded the 2019 Officer of the Quarter for the Vicksburg Police Department. “I grew up knowing I wanted to help people and be a voice.”