by Nicole Stokes

Chief Deputy Roger Causey and Deputies Otis Dyer, Gordon Dover and Bubba Gabbert have been sworn officers in Franklin County longer than most — with a combined total of 128 years’ experience in law enforcement between the four men.

Dyer, who has been working in law enforcement for 25 years, said his career began in Franklin County and has stayed local, even while working for other agencies.

“I’ve been with this department ever since I’ve been in (law enforcement),” he said. “I started here in 1997, and I kind of played a dual role. Starting in 2000, I started to work for the (Mississippi Department of Transportation) and I was here. I retired in 2019 and continued to work here part-time.

"I’ve always had a passion for law enforcement. I served in the military for 12 years and worked with the (Louisiana) Department of Corrections for five years at Angola, and a position came open for me to get into law enforcement and I took it.”

Causey began working in law enforcement 48 years ago with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and has been a deputy in Franklin County for 20 years.

“I’ve been in law enforcement with the state, and I worked in South Mississippi for 28 years,” he said.

“I started in Natchez and then was promoted on the road and I worked the highway for 28 years. I went to work under Sheriff James Newman in 2003, and I’ve been here ever since.”

For Dover, his journey to becoming an officer had some challenges.

“I started going to go work with the Highway Patrol when I was 28, and I got up there and went to the Academy and fell on the thing called ‘the rose garden,’ and like to broke my neck,” he said.

“I had to leave. They said I had to get my neck operated on and then come back and start again. I didn’t want (anyone) cutting on my neck so I stayed out (and) I sent my kids to school.

“I had the house half-built and my kids in a private school, so I just stayed out. I made more money not being a law enforcement officer. When they graduated school I said, ‘Now I’m going to go back and do what I want to do.’

“In July 2003, (I) went back to the academy (and then) I worked in Centreville and Woodville. I worked seven days a week for five years straight, no days off, no vacation, and I worked probably 22 hours a day. And then I came to Bude.

“They needed a chief of police in Bude, so I came up here and got the job and was chief there for nine years. At the same time, James Newman came to me and said ‘I need some help in the county. Will you work at Bude and help me at the same time?’

“I said, ‘Yeah, as long as I don’t have to punch a time clock.’ On Sept. 1, 2008, I went to work at Bude, and I’ve been at Bude and here ever since.”

Gabbert’s time with the FCSD started four years ago, and he has 35 years of experience in municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement.

“When I got out of the military and came home, James Newman hired me as a deputy,” he said.

According to Dyer, Causey and Dover, one change that has taken place in the law enforcement community over the years is the amount of paperwork that has to be kept up with on the computer.

Dover compared the changes to “daylight and dark,” saying everything has gone high-tech.

“(The job is) more paperwork and computer-oriented now,” Causey agreed. “When I started, computer systems were just starting. Nowadays, everything’s pretty much done on the computer ... inventory and everything.”

“It’s a lot more paperwork-oriented than it was when I first got in. It changed (in) that aspect a whole lot.” Dyer said.

Gabbert also agreed the job has evolved since he first got into the profession.

“It’s changed in a lot of ways. It’s not as much camaraderie as it used to be. (It) used to be more of a brotherhood and sisterhood than it is now. It still is, but not to the extent that it used to be. Also, criminals have changed and victims have changed.”

In spite of all the changes they’ve seen, the foursome enjoy the opportunity they have to serve their community every time they put on a uniform.

“When I went into law enforcement, my goal was that I wanted to help children and old people,” Dover said.

“That was my main concern — protecting older people and children, and (trying) to make a difference in their lives — and I still (want to do that). I love children and old people. They’re innocent and I love that.

“I appreciate (Sheriff Tom Tindle) and all the guys I work with. I look forward to working with every deputy every day. We’ve got a good bunch of deputies right now.

“I used to have jobs where I woke up in the morning and got nauseated thinking about where I had to go. That doesn’t happen here. When I wake up now, I’m ready to get up and go and do what I can to make a difference. I know I can’t solve the problems of the world, but I just hope I can make some small difference in somebody’s life.”

“Knowing when you’ve been successful making the citizens happy (is what I love the most),” Dyer said.

“When you go and help one of the elderly citizens with a problem and leave them with a smile on their face, or some of the youth in the county that you might be able to have an impact on … that means a lot to me.

“We thrive to keep the community safe. That’s our No. 1 goal — to keep our community safe and protect our citizens.”

“I like holding those that are criminals accountable for their actions,” Gabbert said.

“I like working for a small county, and (for) my hometown. The agency that it is, and the officers that work here all get along and work together well. The senior deputies are all on the same page. We’ve all been in it long enough to know the way it used to be and we’re just able to work together.”

“I like working for the citizens of the county and I like working with the officers we’ve got here. I’ve seen some come and go, but we’ve got a dedicated department.” Causey said, going on to say he believes the sheriff’s department, as a whole, is headed toward the future.

“I think this department is headed in the right direction. It’s got a lot of structure to it. When you have state law enforcement officers that retire and come into a system like this, they try to run it and build it up on the basis of what the state has set up, because it works.

“You’ve got to have structure, and the department has structure now and I think it’s headed in the right direction.”

“These four officers have been a great asset to Franklin County over the years,” Sheriff Tom Tindle said of his deputies.

“They started working with retired Sheriff James Newman and continued on with me.”