Devoted to the people

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Royal S. Freeman may not know exactly what prompted him to go into law enforcement, but he remembers the moment the seed germinated: fourth grade career day.
“It was the only class that wasn’t full,” he recalls.

So he walked in and listened to a presentation by Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Quincy Thompson. Even then, Freeman knew Thompson was someone respected.
“He was talking about law enforcement,” Freeman said.

Certainly, as a child, Freeman had thought about it – as children do. “When you’re young it’s fireman, policeman,” he noted.

But then Thompson said something that resonated.

“What he said caught my attention: He said, one of you may end up working with me.”
Indeed, Freeman, 54, who joined the sheriff’s department in 1988, did – the men serving together for about 10 years.

Now a major with the department, Freeman’s dedication was recently acknowledged when the department recognized his “outstanding service to the citizens of Charlotte County,” Sheriff Thomas Jones noted at the time. “I commend him for always being honest, hardworking, and devoted to serving the people of Charlotte County.”

“It’s nice,” Freeman said of receiving the award.
As a child, it was a desire to help others that promoted him to look at law enforcement, and Freeman said he hasn’t been disappointed. In fact, helping people is the best part of the job, he said.

And one of the hardest parts is not being able to help.

“You can only go so far and you have to do what the law says,” he noted.

For all the positives of the job, there are, of course, its negatives. One of the worst parts of the job is seeing children or the elderly harmed.

“They can’t protect themselves,” he said. “They’re vulnerable.”

Through the years, Freeman has seen his share of change. Not surprisingly, computers head the list, and it’s largely been good. The speed that officers can share information and find out something is amazing, he notes.

But it comes with a drawback: “You always need to be able to rely on that pen and paper in case you lose power,” he warned.

Freeman said he wants people to know that the department really does uphold its maxim.

“It’s really what it says, we’re here to protect and serve,” he said.

As for him, Freeman wants people to know just how much he enjoys himself.

“I enjoy my job and enjoy being around people, talking to people; and (I) always have a listening ear.”