Sumter Co. sheriff’s deputy looks back on 40 years of service - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Deputy looks back on 40 years of service

Posted: Updated:
"I felt I had to be above and beyond other folks to prove myself," Sinkler said. "I felt I had to be above and beyond other folks to prove myself," Sinkler said.
"It was kind of stressful and kind of hard but through it all, I took it and today I'm still here," Sinkler said. "It was kind of stressful and kind of hard but through it all, I took it and today I'm still here," Sinkler said.
SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Cpl. Roosevelt Sinkler is hanging up his holster after 40 years of service. As he reflects on his tenure, he says his best advice is treating others the way you want to be treated.

"Some people might think that 40 years is not a long time but until you've been through some of the things I've been through, then you might not realize that," Sinkler said.

On Friday, he retired from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. Four decades of doing a job he's loved from the beginning.

"I saw this picture of a police officer helping this child across the street and I thought all we had to do was get dressed up in an uniform and look neat and then just help people across the street," Sinkler said.

Sinkler quickly realized there was much more to the job than the uniform and a badge, especially when not everyone respects his authority --- like a husband and wife team in the ‘70s who was determined not to go to jail.

"She came out of the house with the shotgun pointed directly at my head," Sinkler said.  "And I'm trying to arrest him on the ground and he is telling her ‘shoot him, kill him, shoot him, kill him. Bring me the shot gun, I'll kill him.'"

"She's pointing the shot gun at me saying ‘I'm going to blow your head off -- turn my husband loose,'" Sinkler recalls.

It's a story Sinkler will never forget.

"It was kind of stressful and kind of hard but through it all, I took it and today I'm still here," he said.

Sinkler said he's still here because of his family and his faith.

"I know good and well I couldn't do it on my own," he said. "With the good support from my family and the good Lord."

His wife has been with him from the beginning.

"She used to always tell me before I walked out of the house: 'Roosevelt, be careful , you know you're a black man and you mess around, you'll lose your job. Be very careful. Don't do this, don't do that," Sinkler said.

Sinkler said there were only a handful of African-American deputies when he first started.

"I felt I had to be above and beyond other folks to prove myself," he said.

His colleagues often say he is leaving behind a legacy of strength and honor.

"A lot of the sheriff's office is a reflection of Roosevelt Sinkler," Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. "He may not have been the sheriff during his time here but officer's look up to Roosevelt."

Dennis first met Sinkler in 1982 on his first day at the sheriff's office.

"Race relations at that time weren't the best," Dennis said. "He taught me a lot about how to deal with that. I was young, in my early 20s and I needed that advice. He almost became my father away from home."    

Its clear Roosevelt Sinkler has had an impact.

Now, Dennis says Sinkler is the longest-serving African-American deputy in the history of the sheriff's office.

"He taught you that first you have to be a good person and to be a good person makes you a good police officer," Dennis said. "What your heart possesses is what you're going to express. It comes from the inside. If you don't have it in you, it can't come out of you."

Sinkler has not only been a mentor to other deputies but also to his family. He has three adult children and three grandchildren.

One of his sons is also a deputy at the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow