QUITMAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In First Responders, we meet Eric O’Neil. O'Neil is an investigator with the Clarke County Sheriff's Department. We learn about his commitment to law enforcement and the public.
Eric O’Neil has been a law enforcement officer for over 20 years. He began as an officer in Georgia in 1994. Before that, O’Neil was in the Army National Guard for six years. He has developed a passion for helping others. O’Neil became a patrol deputy in Clarke County three years ago. He is now an investigator something O’Neil says he loves.
“It is a challenge. People look at investigators sitting behind a desk, but I can promise you it’s more than that. It’s a lot of mental work and physical work too,” O’Neil says.
O’Neil says he is driven to help others that are going through a hard time. He says Quitman is a close-knit community that knows one another.
“You really know people one on one. It really makes a difference. When you help them you can follow them and know how you’re helping them and what you can do to help them,” O’Neil says.
He says there are major downsides to the job.
“When you know everyone and know their family. To watch a family suffer from the loss of a loved one. That’s probably one of the worst parts of this job,” O’Neil says.
O’Neil says seeing a distraught family motivates him to work at his job even harder, ensuring all of the evidence is looked at carefully to solve the crime.
“When someone’s been victimized, I want to make sure to find the person that has done it,” O’Neil says.
In addition to being an officer, O’Neil does have a business in the town of Quitman
“I own the Railroad Bakery which is a doughnut shop here in Quitman,” O’Neil says.
That’s right, Officer O’Neil owns a doughnut shop.
“I fit the stereotypical mold of being a cop who likes doughnuts and has a doughnut shop. It’s a little rare and bizarre,” O’Neil says.
O’Neil says he will continue in his role of helping others as long as possible.
To stay up to date with our First Responders series tune in every Sunday night for Newscenter 11 at 10:00 p.m. and on Good Morning Meridian on Monday mornings.