Mid-South Heroes: Police chief makes sacrifice to protect students
PALESTINE, Ark. (WMC) - The head of police in a small Arkansas town saw a desperate need in his community. Now thanks to his sacrifice, both parents and students have some peace of mind in the classroom.
Police officers are often celebrated for their sacrifices, but not all sacrifices require a physical loss.
October’s Mid-South Hero is a small-town police chief whose big gesture has drawn praise across the country.
"I guess I was one of those kids that liked to play cops and robbers and never grew out of it,” said Blake Hudson, Palestine Police Chief.
Growing up in Arkansas, Palestine Police Chief Blake Hudson was always headed for a life of service.
"I'm a firefighter, I'm a paramedic, a police officer and I was in the military as well,” said Hudson.
For that resume alone, some people might call him a hero but titles don't do the talking, Hudson's actions do.
"He is willing to give and do anything, at all times, for our school and for our little community,” said Donna Fowler, resident.
That giving spirit was on display last month when Hudson, looking to add a school resource officer at Palestine-Wheatley High School, hit a roadblock.
There was no money to fund the position and the school was going to go another year without an officer on hand to look out for students.
"You hope, in a little town like this, that nothing ever happens. That’s all of us, but we all have a fear that, ‘what if someone came on to campus,’” said Fowler.
So Hudson made the call.
As head of the police department he'd make a cut. He'd give up 20 percent of his own salary, so long as that money put a full-time resource officer at the school.
For him it was an easy decision.
"My wife's a trauma nurse in Memphis. She kind of shares my view on helping others and I had her support to make this cut. Again, we were able to financially do it, so it was no problem. It was kind of a no-brainer for us,” said Hudson.
Hudson shakes off any idea that his “no-brainer” makes him a hero, but ask anyone in town.
"For him to give of his salary to help all of us, he is a hero,” said Becky Todd, teacher.
“To make sure not only their children are safe, but all the children are safe, yes, that's a hero,” said Fowler.
Hudson's generosity has people all over the country talking.
TV stations across the Mid-South told his story and policemag.com, along with other online publications, posted about it as well.
"I saw something I wanted to do, so I did what was necessary to make sure we could do it,” said Hudson.
For the kid who never grew out of cops and robbers -- it's a selfless decision that makes you, Blake Hudson, this month’s Mid-South Hero.
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