Sergeant Tony Alves of the Gulfport Police Department assists a fellow officer with a routine traffic stop. Sgt. Alves approaches the passenger side of the vehicle and quickly notices a gun in the driver’s hand. Fortunately, the officer who initiated the traffic stop reacts quickly and recovers the gun from the driver without incident. While the officer removes the gun from the immediate area, Sgt. Alves removes the driver from the vehicle and places him in handcuffs. Once the driver is moved to the back of a squad car, Sgt. Alves safely searches the driver’s vehicle and discovers a crack rock hidden in a cigarette box. When the driver is questioned about the find, he attempts to downplay the situation by claiming that the drugs are for personal use only. Additionally, he was supposedly in the process of handing the gun over to officers and hadn’t meant for the move to appear threatening. Sgt. Alves calmly explains to the driver that he put himself in a dangerous situation, and that if there is a next time, he will be much better off giving officers verbal notification instead. Both officers are grateful that no one was hurt, but the driver still has to go to jail on the drug and weapon charges.
Gulfport Police Department
Why Law Enforcement
I got into law-enforcement, as many do, because as a child I was always interested in the profession. As cliché as it might sound I was like the vast majority of police officers that would love to play cops and robbers as a kid. I had a desire to join the police department after the military brought me to the golf coast and I was fortunate enough to find a department in an area that I truly loved.
As I reflect on my 14 year career I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember my first arrest. I can tell you about my most memorable arrest – I remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 2006 and I had just been selected to be on our Police Department SWAT team. I had completed the try out process two weeks prior and was nervous, anxious, and excited about the opportunity to be at my first training day. We spent time on the range doing a lot of shooting and we also went to our training facility where we practiced basic building clearing with the new guys. At some point one of the team leaders gets a phone call requesting that the entire team respond to execute a narcotic search warrant on a two-story apartment complex. I am immediately amped up and excited about the opportunity but that’s quickly extinguished when they tell me new guys don’t go in for at least three or four months. I would be stuck on the perimeter. So they assign me to the north east corner of this two-story apartment complex to be on this perimeter. Meanwhile I’m thinking this sucks. I mean, c’mon, it’s a two story building and the target is on the second floor. I’m thinking I’m not going to be doing anything except standing here until they make arrests. Like a silly rookie, the first things I do is leave my post so I can watch the team approach – I want to watch them smashed the front door. I’m watching the team as it makes entry into this apartment and less than 30 seconds later I hear glass break on the backside where I was originally assigned. I walk back to investigate the noise and as I approach my post I hear a loud thud to the ground. Needless to say, I was surprised when the subject of the search warrant comes running by me completely naked and bleeding. I chase after him all the while being cheered on by the Narcotics Lieutenant who is screaming at me “get him Tony! Get him Tony!“ I was able to catch him about 30 yards away from the house in a field, tackle him to the ground, and I put him in handcuffs. After a few high fives from the lieutenant, I roll the subject over and to my surprise he is filleted open and it appears his guts are hanging out of his stomach. The mood quickly changed from excitement to, “Tony, what you do?!?” I reply, “I dunno I must’ve tackled him in some glass?!?” Over the radio the entry team advised, “it appears the suspect jumped out of the second story bedroom window – he should be cut up pretty bad.” Relief comes over me as we call for medical to respond to my location. It was my first callout and one that I’ll never forget.
Best part of the job
I’m fortunate that I work for department that understands the importance of community out reach and connecting with our youth. A few years ago, my chief selected me to help start a youth initiative program where we would use sports to connect the officers with troubled youth in our community. One of the main ideas was we did not want to create a police athletic league that just had cops playing cops in various sports and the community would spectate. We understood the importance of bridging the youth and letting them interact with the officers on a human level and that’s probably the best part of my job. Many of the kids and teenagers will tell us that they’ve never interacted with a police officer aside from watching them fight crime. So to see them realizing that we are not robots and helping them to understand certain aspects of our job is really worthwhile.
Even at the age of 36 I’m still a huge comic book nerd. When I’m not at work I spend time working out, spending time with family, and collecting and reading my comic books. I have no problem letting anybody and everybody know that I’m a huge nerd (although most can tell without me saying anything). I also started training for endurance runs – I’m hoping to complete a trifecta this coming year after I complete my Master’s degree.
I have many specific quotes that I like to say while I’m teaching classes or instructing officers. I try and use memorable things to hook officers in to what I’m talking about. One of my favorite sayings I use frequently is “I need you guys to be less like Superman…punching your way out of problems…and find your inner Batman. Use your head and hard work to win and overcome the problems.” There’s that comic book nerd thing again.