Bryant’s career as a member of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department came to a close Monday.
It is a career which began on August 11, 1991, and one in which all those years were served with the RRPD.
He began as a patrolman and worked his way up to captain and supervisor of the uniformed division where he coordinated training, was responsible for the department’s body cameras and computer upgrades.
Body cameras have become an important part of law enforcement, Bryant said in a recent interview. “I love the advantage of them. They assist officers when we have complaints. They’re used to assist us in investigations. They help resolve complaints when it’s usually a simple misunderstanding.”
The cameras, Bryant said, help prevent frivolous allegations. They can work in an officer’s favor or they can hurt an officer. “The majority of our complaints have been found to be the officer did no wrong.”
Dream of a small boy
Bryant is a Roanoke Rapids native and a 1987 graduate of Roanoke Rapids High School. He received his law enforcement training at the North Carolina Justice Academy in Salemburg.
Being a police officer was something he dreamed of doing since he was a small boy. “Chief (D.N.) Beale was a family friend. He gave me a ride in a police car around the neighborhood and let me blow the siren. He’s always been one to help the guys who worked for him.”
Said Bryant: “I’m very lucky to be doing what I wanted to be doing when I was kid. Back then you saw police on cop shows and they were always well-respected, always cordial to people. That image was a memory of what I wanted to do.”
He grew up and went to church with officers such as Ron Baird and Karl Clark. “I saw Karl, Ron and Stanley Mabrey doing the same thing I saw on TV.”
In high school he began working as a dispatcher for the Weldon Police Department.
As a dispatcher he learned that police work wasn’t all what he imagined it would be. “In reality, it’s hard work, people who leave their families for little pay to serve others. Former Chief Linwood Ricks and Greg Harrington were very helpful in any questions I had concerning law enforcement rules and regulations.”
Former Deputy Chief Andy Jackson, who worked alongside Bryant, and retired in June, said of his friend, “I’m happy for him. Andy is a rare breed. He really, really loves police work. He has a passion for helping people. People like that are hard to replace.”
Chief Chuck Hasty said, “I’ve worked with him a long time. He has served the people of Roanoke Rapids well and we wish him the best in retirement and will miss him.”
Bryant and Hasty look for paperwork.
Passion for EMS
Bryant’s other passion is EMS, something he has been in since 1982 when he started out as a junior member of Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad.
His interest was sparked by shows such as Emergency!, which focused on Squad 51 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department as well as the show Adam-12. “Emergency! Was the show which has inspired a great number of paramedics in my generation to work in that career field simply because of the influences of the show. All of the cops were relatable. It spurred an interest to do what I’m doing and hopefully help people.”
Bryant became a paramedic with Halifax County Emergency Medical Services Authority — the forerunner to Halifax County EMS — in 1989.
He continues to work as a paramedic with Halifax County EMS on part-time basis and has done so since 2000.
“Both have been a lifelong reward for me,” he said. “The jobs interact so much. Obviously my medical training has enabled me to help people not only as a police officer and paramedic and my law enforcement training as a drug recognition expert has prepared me to better take care of patients impaired by drugs and alcohol.”
In retirement Bryant will continue to be an instructor at Halifax Community College where he teaches both EMS and law enforcement classes.
And, he said, “I’m looking for something else. I don’t want to sit at home and sit in a rocking chair.”