By Ben Lawson
Law enforcement is career that keeps a person coming back to work. At least that’s how Sergeant Jason Cate feels, who considers himself a lifer.
Growing up in Kodak, Cate always had an interest in law enforcement, leading to a stint with the Sheriff Department’s Explorer program when he turned 18. He couldn’t put a finger on where his interest came from.
“It’s just kind of always been there,” he said.
When he joined the department in 2002, Cate sought out a position in corrections which he saw as a good place to start. But the work quickly grew on him.
“It felt right once I got into it,” he said. “It felt like the kind of job I wanted to do.”
Now a sergeant, Cate has worked at both the main jail and the annex, though he prefers the latter due to the calmer atmosphere for both the employees and inmates.
Unity is an important aspect for a group of people working in an environment such as a jail, something Cate feels has strengthened as the inmate population rises and the officers realize how much they need to rely on each other.
“I’ve been a sergeant for about three years now and have enjoyed every shift and everyone that’s worked for me,” he said.
In addition to managing shifts and maintaining inmate security and safety, Cate is also an instructor specializing in pepperball technologies. Similar in operation to a paintball gun, the defensive weapon disperses balls with pepper spray for use on single subjects or groups.
Cate noted that he’s never had to deploy the weapon on anyone, since verbally calming a situation usually works. Large group fights and inmate suicide attempts are situations that force officers to deploy all the skills they posses.
Although many new recruits see corrections as a path to being a road officer, Cate said most people enjoy it once they’ve gotten into the job. He once took a year-long break from law enforcement, but was soon right back at it.
“I realized I made a mistake,” he said. “After doing this job a while, it’s hard to do anything else.”
Sergeant a Lifer
By Ben Lawson