HIcks

Officer Billy Cockrell would issue his own mother a citation if he caught her speeding through town. This does not speak against his character, but rather toward his character and the honorable man he is.

I first met officer Cockrell while waiting tables at Ropers Restaurant in Greenbrier. He showed me nothing but respect, and always welcomed me with a warm, heartfelt smile.

Law enforcement is more than a job that puts food on the table for this man. It’s also more than a career. It’s a lifestyle and passion to right wrongs and hold the community accountable.

Ensuring safety is a priority and bringing justice where its due comes instinctively to Cockrell.

Officer Cockrell was simply born to serve others.

In his younger days, Billy served his nation proudly.

His love for this country has not whittled with time. Instead, he found a means of protecting the public and serving his community on a local level. Cockrell has worked for various police departments throughout his law enforcement tenure. More recently, he was a patrolman for the Greenbrier Police Department.

As a 16-year-old server, I could tell this officer was different from others. Officer Cockrell wears the badge proudly, and does not condone unnecessary judgment against those who are willing to admit they’ve done wrong and work to properly make right their actions.

Today, as I near my 30s, I can’t help but admire this man for standing tall as a local hero all these years.

Tuesday night was his last night to patrol the bustling streets of Greenbrier.

As he stepped down from his law enforcement career, I can’t help but wonder what his next move will be.

There’s no doubt a few dozen faces are smiling to know he’s off their hometown streets. It’s less likely they’ll be pulled over for speeding along Highway 65 or stopped for having expired tags or whatever violation they may be at fault of.

But with this goodbye is the reality that a man born to serve others has stepped down from his role, his true calling, to search for other fulfillments.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to know officer Cockrell through the years. Billy has always faced each of his encounters nobly, and professionally – he’s had the opportunity to step in and hold me accountable, too.

Billy wouldn’t write his mother a ticket because of any grievances between the two, but rather to bring light that none of us are better than the other or exempt from the boundaries of the law. Billy would issue himself a ticket to prove he is not above the law. In fact, he recently issued himself a citation when he realized the tags on his personal vehicle had expired.

I have no doubt in my mind in saying officer Cockrell was born to serve others.

Law enforcement suited him well, but beyond that, he suited the job perfectly.

To honor his career on his final night, officers from various departments – Greenbrier (of course), Guy, Quitman as well as the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office – met up for a farewell meal Tuesday evening. It was encouraging to see such a tight-knit group recognizing and supporting one of their brothers in blue as he prepared to take off his khaki uniform for one last time.

If you run into this kindhearted fellow, thank him for his years of service and wish him well in his future endeavors.

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