Beldon Scott Mullins, Police Officer of 20 Years; Wise, Virginia:
“I was born and raised in Wise out on Pole Bridge Road. I went to school in Wise Schools. I started out at Wise Primary, L. F. Addington, then I graduated in 1993 from Kelly High School. Everybody knows everybody, or if you don’t know the person, someone you know, knows that person. It is a community where everybody tries to help people, it is a community where people care for people and we all come together as one.
I think if they (outsiders) lived in this region, in the mountains of this beautiful part of Wise County, I think they would have a change of heart and probably would want a part of living in our area instead of city life. I have been made fun of many times [because] of my accent. One time, I was in Richmond for some (police) training and we had to introduce ourselves and talk about where we were from and things like that, and they all kinda made fun of me because of my accent. I just laughed it off. It didn’t bother me any. This is who I am and this is who I will be.
I have two girls. They have been here all of their life. They have been to local schools. I have one who has already graduated and she is going to UVA Wise. She is following in my footsteps. She is majoring in criminal Justice, and my other one is an upcoming senior this year. I instill in them to help each other, be kind to each other. I am old fashioned. I believe in respect of my elders. I believe in respect of anybody, but truthfully respect my elders and that is something I was taught by my father. Open the door for them, helping them, just like out here today on the street, if an elderly person needs something, just step in and try to help them.
[I am] a hillbilly at heart. It means that I am an old fashioned person, old fashioned beliefs. I believe in respect, respect one another in the way they want to be treated. I believe in respect for our community. I believe in respect and being proud of yourself and proud of where you’re from. Living a life of good values and living a life of being raised in a family with good Christian values, good moral character.
I don’t have a whole lot of off time, but when I do I just spend time with my family. I am a family man. I love to spend time with my family. My life is my family. The best times of my life were when my children were born. Those were the best two days of my life. I love my daughters to death, and then the day I married my beautiful wife. That is another good thing.
I’m thankful to still have a father. He gets around well, still works well, he tinkers with old cars all the time. We have an excellent relationship. He worked in the coal business. He worked above ground on a surface mine. And then for a few years he had coal trucks also and hauled coal.
The biggest challenge (in law enforcement) is being able to learn, whether starting new or being a several year veteran, to leave the job at the job and not take it home to your family. That’s one of the hardest things to learn. Because there is a lot of things that we see that personally I mean bother ya, it’s always in your mind. You have to learn how to leave that at your job and not bring it home to your family.
When I first started law enforcement back in 1995, things have progressively changed over the years. We had some problems back then with illegal narcotics, mostly crack cocaine. Over the years, that kinda got better and now, today, we have problems with prescription medications and synthetic drugs.
Some things that you would never dream would ever cause a problem in the future. These people make methamphetamines out of Drano and different types of chemicals that you would think, if they ever got into your body that you would immediately die. If these people would get an education, obviously they have very good intelligence, they probably could become scientists and maybe find some cures for these illnesses in the world. If they would put forth an effort and do that instead of in the life of drugs.
Drugs is a lot more than what people think. We do have a drug problem here. There is a drug problem all over the country, but we do have a drug problem here. We, as law enforcement, we try to do our best to try to just take a little piece of it and fix it. We are never going to (completely) fix it; there is nothing we can do to totally fix it. It’s always gonna be here. When you have drugs, you have other crimes of domestic violence, larceny, people breaking into buildings and taking things like that. My pet peeve is actually intoxicated drivers.
In my job, there has been a lot of sadness. We see a whole lot. I have been to homes where children have died or in the process of dying, or choking to death. I have been to car accidents where people have lost their lives. That’s one of the parts of the job, you know, that is hard. You just gotta kinda put it behind ya; put it in the back of your mind.
Like I said, you don’t want to take it home to your family. You don’t want to be so depressed yourself that you will depress the whole family, and the family will be concerned about you. You know you don’t want to do that.”