A Life of Service

Paul Sheldon

Paul Sheldon
Sergeant, Tucson (AZ) Police Department

Since I was a small child, I was drawn to law enforcement. Looking back on it, I’m not completely sure why. No one in my family was a cop but becoming one was my dream. After high school I joined the United States Marine Corps. During my service I obtained the rank of Sergeant and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. I was honorably discharged and hired by the City of Tucson to live my dream and become a police officer.

My career began on the west side of Tucson where I was able to gain valuable experience in gangs, drugs and basically every crime known to man. After 5 years, I achieved my new goal and was selected to join the department’s Service Dog Unit. I remained there for almost 10 years and worked with two amazing K-9 partners, Kegan and Kimo. The impact this time had on my life led me to write and publish a book, For the Love of a K-9.

I left the dog unit after scoring high enough in our promotional process to be promoted to Sergeant. After that promotion I was sent to the Midtown division to begin my job running squads of fellow officers. It was an assignment I took very seriously and always tried to do the best I could by my people. After a year and a half of that I was assigned to a plain clothes unit that was responsible for combatting neighborhood crimes.

Most recently I was assigned back to the Service Dog Unit as the supervisor. It is one of the highest honors I’ve ever been given. To return to a unit that meant so much to my career is amazing.

Outside of work I developed a passion for distance sports. Through those races I was introduced to Team Hoyt. They are a running group that focuses on inclusion by pushing disabled athletes through races they otherwise could not compete in. My work with this charity led to me being awarded the “Unsung Hero” award. I am still taken back when I see that award on my desk. I did not require recognition, I ran with them out of love.

Looking back on my career and looking forward I have learned that love is the key ingredient. I frequently teach at our academy and I always teach to treat everyone you contact as if they are a family member. Granted, some people will reject your efforts, but it is still worth the time.

I admire and respect every person who puts the badge on their chest. It is not an easy job and sometimes our brothers and sisters don’t make it home. Those have been my hardest moments. For the last five years I have attended too many funerals to count. I have also attended Police Week for five years in a row. It is my honor and my duty to pay my continual respect to those who sacrificed everything for the greater good.

I am honored to be a part of the law enforcement family and the museum. If you are an officer or intending to become one… please, wear your vest and constantly work to improve your tactics.

I’ll close with the verse I have held close to my chest my entire career. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth. But the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Be righteous, be bold!

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