VPD mentee follows in mentor's footsteps

VPD mentee follows in mentor's footsteps
A sergeant with the Valdosta Police Department invested her time into a student who is now her colleague. (Source: VPD)
A sergeant with the Valdosta Police Department invested her time into a student who is now her colleague. (Source: VPD)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Time is one of the most important things in life and how that time is spent, can be life-changing.

A sergeant with the Valdosta Police Department invested her time into a student who is now her colleague.

WALB sat down with Sergeant Sabrina Smith about mentoring and its lasting effects.

Smith has dedicated her time and efforts into bettering the community.

Now, she is rewarded every day by seeing the results of her hard work as her mentee James Turner joins her team.

"She was a school resource officer when I was attending Valdosta High School, somethings happened and she kind of took me under her wing," said Turner

"He was an athlete, one of those people who really didn't get in much trouble but he was borderline," said Smith.

Smith and Turner have a long history.

When Turner was a typical teen, doing what typical teenagers do, he made a mistake that put him at risk of facing a misdemeanor while still in high school.

Instead of ruling with an iron fist, Smith decided to make a deal with Turner.

He could either do right and allow her to mentor him or she could file charges against him.

It was an offer he could not refuse.

"I would see him in the halls and if he was cutting up, I got on him. If he wasn't, I spoke to him, hugged him and it just really kind of grew from a mentoring thing to a, after a period of time, to really more of a mother to son type of relationship," said Smith.

Smith had so much of an effect on Turner, that two years ago, he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.

"When I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I wanted to make a difference the way she made a difference with me," said Turner.

And just like that, the mother-son relationship continued to grow.

Smith saw Turner through this process, from start to finish.

"The day he graduated from the Police Academy, I was there, the day he got sworn in as a police officer, I was there, pretty much everything I had been doing from the time we made that pact in 2008," said Smith.

Turner and Smith both agree that it is extremely difficult to get young people interested in law enforcement.

But Smith said all it really takes is an investment of time.

"Sometimes it just takes someone else to come in and show the genuine love, show the genuine concern and follow up," said Smith.

Smith said to see Turner married with kids and now an officer is priceless.

"You plant the seed and give it time, give life the opportunity to water that seed, experience to water that seed and you'll never know what type of harvest comes," said Smith.

Smith said you never know the impact you can have on a life, invest and watch it grow.

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