‘I’m here to help’

Bradley Fields|Harlan Daily Loyall Police Department Officer Mitchell W. Alford is this week’s Behind the Badge participant.

Mitchell W. Alford has only been with the Loyall Police Department for two months, but he has clearly impressed police Chief Mike Lunsford.

When asked about the newcomer, Lunsford said, “Mitch works hard at his job and cares about the people he serves. He has done a great job since he began his employment with the Loyall police in May. He’s very devoted and dependable, and ready to assist the department or public at any time. I’m glad to have him working with me.”

Alford said his career in criminal justice began in 2008 when he worked as a dispatcher for the Harlan City Police Department. He had only months earlier graduated from James A. Cawood High School. His first job as a police officer came in January 2011, for the Harlan City Police Department, after completing the Department of Criminal Justice and Training’s police basic training class 427. He later moved to the Harlan Sheriff’s Office in June 2012, and stayed until December 2014.

In 2013 Alford received the Governor’s Highway Safety Award for Impaired Driving Enforcement and the Medal of Valor. He is also an esteemed Kentucky Colonel. Being named a Kentucky Colonel is the highest title honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He shares the title with names like Johnny Depp and the late Hunter S. Thompson — to name a few.

The 25-year-old officer currently lives in Harlan with his wife, Debbie Alford. He has been volunteering on-and-off over the last several years as a scout leader for the Boy Scouts of America.

What police work means to Alford, “isn’t making arrests” he said. “It’s trying to make a difference in the community.”

Alford said he can’t think of a case that stands out among the several he’s worked. He said it alarms him more that children seem afraid of the police, so he takes time to talk with children and joke with them every chance he gets. He said, “So they will know if they ever need the police — I am here to help.”

Reach Bradley at 606-909-4146 and follow him on twitter @bradley_HDE

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