Deputy Sheriff Elton R. Simmons
Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff’s Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Deputy Sheriff Elton R. Simmons, of the Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff’s Department, to receive its Officer of the Month Award for November 2013.
The most common interaction between American citizens and police officers occurs during a traffic stop to address a violation. Because these encounters often result in a citation, upset citizens often direct their emotional response at the officer charged with upholding laws. Deputy Sheriff Elton Simmons of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) has lived this scenario thousands of times. He knows that, too often, tension can escalate and a simple traffic stop can develop into a more serious matter. With every traffic stop he makes, Deputy Simmons is determined to diffuse the situation, eliminating any unnecessary anxiety for both himself and the driver. He lives and works by a simple code: you earn respect when you offer respect.
Deputy Simmons joined the LASD in 1987, and 12 years later became a Motor Deputy. In this capacity, he is responsible for enforcing traffic regulations and enhancing safety for motorists and pedestrians. With a job that some might perceive as unpopular, Deputy Simmons is known throughout his department and community for his spotless reputation. In fact, the last time Deputy Simmons received a citizen complaint was in 1992. Since that time, he has had over 25,000 interactions with the public.
“Deputy Simmons is an outstanding role model and a fine representative of the city of La Mirada which is served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” writes Captain Patrick Maxwell.
Deputy Simmons’s positive relationship with the public despite his unpopular responsibilities related to traffic enforcement, is a testament to his demeanor in dealing with the citizens in his jurisdiction. LASD Command Staff contends that this record—not receiving a single complaint in over 20 years—is highly unusual given the nature of Deputy Simmons’s responsibilities in traffic enforcement. This rare accomplishment highlights his exceptional communication skills and his courteous and polite manner.
Deputy Simmons credits his uncle, a pastor from Louisiana, for instilling in him the idea that if a person does good things, is a good person, and treats others well, great things will befall that individual. He lives every day showing simple respect to the individuals he encounters. “Just treat people right, give a smile,” he says. “It’s ‘Hey, how are you doing today?’”
Deputy Simmons has received numerous citizen commendations throughout his career. He was awarded the Sheriff’s Award from Sheriff Leroy D. Baca in January 2012. In September 2012, Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Faturechi wrote a story detailing Deputy Simmons’s extraordinary career. The story gained national attention when CBS featured it on the September 21, 2012 evening news. Since the story was featured, the LACSD has received numerous messages from people across the country, praising Deputy Simmons.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Deputy Sheriff Simmons, along with the other Officer of the Month Award winners for 2013, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2014, during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.