Salute to First Responders: At 40, ACSO’s Perry finds his dream job
Published 2:38 pm Saturday, April 29, 2023
NATCHEZ — Percy Perry, a native of Natchez, worked most of his life at either Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola or at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant in Port Gibson, where he worked from 2011 through 2020.
However, in 2020, he decided he wanted something more fulfilling.
“I told my wife I was going to try to find another job, one that he could make a career out of. We didn’t have any major bills, so I left,” he said.
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After trying his hand at a number of different places and jobs, Major Keith Miles of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Perry.
“He asked if I was ready to join them yet. I thought about it and decided maybe this is where I want to be at in my life right now. I’m going to give it a shot,” Perry said.
At 40 years of age, Perry applied to become an Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy.
He left for the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy on Jan. 15 and graduated on April 5.
Despite being the oldest member of his training academy class, Perry was presented the Physical Training Award, an honor for being the most physically-fit recruit.
He credits that to ACSO Chief Shane Daugherty and ACSO Sgt. Ivori Campbell, who is in charge of training at the sheriff’s office.
Perry started working out with deputies, who meet at Adams County Christian School to do their physical training.
“We run, lift weights, and they have shown me how to use my own body weight for workouts,” he said. Working out for Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies is an ongoing thing. “It’s routine. They meet out there and work out daily. Any day that I’m off and available, I join them and work out.”
Despite having a head start on physical training, Perry said the training academy was grueling.
“When I left to come home after that first week, I came back and thanked Chief Shane and Sgt. Ivori because they pushed me so hard. I wouldn’t have made it without that head start working out with them,” Perry said.
At the academy, workouts begin at 4:30 a.m. and the day ends with lights out at 7:30 p.m.
“We worked out from 4:30 to 6:30 a.m., then went back and changed and had breakfast. After breakfast, we would go to class. Lunch was at 11:45 a.m., and then more classes until 4:45 p.m. After that, they gave us a piece of fruit and a granola bar for a snack. And that was it. I ended up losing close to 14 pounds while I was there,”
His recruit class began with 53 people. Only 31 graduated.
“We lost something like 10 people the first week, and more dropped out as time progressed,” he said.
Perry said made a name for himself at the academy by doing push-ups.
“I told myself, if I’m going to get something from this, I need to put everything into it. I could only do 25 or 30 when I first started and I would be too tired to go on. But your mind has to tell your body it needs to give you more.
“Every day, I tried to beat the day before. I eventually got to 52 pushups. Then 68. When I graduated, I did 93 pushups in two minutes,” Perry said.
The Physical Training Awards was based on running, agility and pushups. His time for running a mile and a half was 11 minutes and 15 seconds, the best at the academy.
During classes at the academy, Perry studied Mississippi law, “and everything from traffic laws to sobriety testing, fingerprinting, DUI training, the different gang affiliations. It was a ton of information we use out in the field every day,” he said.
Perry is on the job in the patrol division at the sheriff’s office.
“I’m finishing up my field training right now. That means I’m out in the area working, riding with another deputy. While I’m riding with someone, I’m doing all of the radio communication, the stops, writing all of the tickets,” he said.
He has finally found that job he wants to make a career out of.
“Every day when I come to work, it’s something different. It’s not a lot of repetition. We may go from a dog call in Cranfield to a domestic assault call and in seconds, it gets serious. There are a whole bunch of feelings going on with the people involved with a domestic call.
“I like to talk to people and on calls like domestics, your job is to calm the situation. When a person feels like you are talking to them on their level, like you are an equal with them, you can de-escalate the situation, make them feel comfortable and change the moment from where it was to where you need it to be,” Perry said. “My lieutenant says you never go to a call with the intent to take someone to jail, but if they need to be in jail, you have to do your job to keep the community and often themselves safe.”
Perry said he is benefitting daily from the experience of officers at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
“I love the way Lt. (David) Nations does things. Then, I started riding with Sgt. (Deselle) Davis and he showed me his way of doing things. Then, I saw how Cpl. (Alexis) Bass does things. Everyone has different ways, and I get to incorporate all of that experience into how I’m going to do things. I have all of that in my portfolio and can put it together the way it best fits me,” Perry said.
He had special praise for Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten.
“If you need anything, from the sheriff on down, you’ve got their number. The sheriff’s door is always open,” Perry said. “You know, sometimes people work in an environment where they are scared to ask questions. That’s not the way things are here. We are free to ask questions, to question why we do things a certain way. They are eager to help you learn.”
Perry and his wife, Shanteria, are the parents of four children: Percy Perry Jr., 13, Peyton Perry, 10, Paisley Perry, 7, and Parker Perry, who is one year old.