Protecting the children


Debbie Caldwell|Daily News Bell County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Max Graves is this week’s “Behind the Badge” participant.

Lt. Max Graves gives a new meaning to the phrase “protecting the children.” While it is ultimately the duty of law enforcement to protect the community, one of his main duties is to ensure the safety of students inside the school.

Graves is the resource officer for the Bell County school district. He won the award for School Resource Officer of the Year in 2011 for Region 6.

“Being associated for nine years with the school system as the school resource officer has given me a new meaning of caring for people and their children,” said Graves. “Being a police officer has been rewarding in this aspect to protect and serve.”

The 52-year-old lieutenant has been with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years, wearing many hats in the process. He is the evidence custodian as well as the computer forensic analyst.

“Max is our go-to-guy. Max wears many hats within our agency,” said Bell County Sheriff Mitch Williams. “He’s a self-motivator and has knowledge in many areas of law enforcement. Max is currently our agency’s school resource officer and dedicates himself to the students.”

One of Graves’ most memorable cases involves helping find a runaway juvenile. He said the juvenile left the area and was located approximately 900 miles and five states away. She was found and returned home within 32 hours after being in a dangerous situation, according to the lieutenant.

Prior to working for the sheriff’s office, Graves worked at the Pineville Police Department for a year. He also worked at a sheriff’s office in Nebraska for 18 years. He was a K-9 handler for nine years.

Outside of policing the community, Graves has been the audio/video tech for his church for 10 years, as well as a Sunday school teacher for eight years. He has also worked as a maintenance supervisor and a hardware manager.

Graves graduated from high school at Clinton Central in Michigantown, Ind. He earned an associate degree from Southeast Community & Technical College.

Graves lives in the Hutch area of Bell County. He is the husband of Mindy Graves and the father of Curtis Graves, Linzy Tuttle, Desiree McPherson and Wayne Brunkhorst.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN

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