Joey Hargrave has returned to law enforcement with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office after a four year hiatus as a nurse. RECORD PHOTO: Debbie Schamber

Being a police officer was in his blood and after four years away from law enforcement, Joey Hargrave has returned and currently works at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“Once it is in your blood, it is hard to get out,” Hargrave said.

It was four years ago this week, Hargrave left the Bridge City Police Department. He worked in Bridge City for 26 years. Initially, when he began his job in law enforcement, it was intended to be temporary.

‘Once I got both of my feet into it, I never moved,” he said.

At first after he left, he didn’t want another job in law enforcement and decided he would go back to school. He became a licensed vocational nurse and worked the night shift at a local hospital.

This was a big change for Hargrave. With his 26 years of law enforcement experience, he was the “go to guy” for questions and advice on how to handle a situation. But, in the unfamiliar territory of the nursing field, he found himself asking others lots of questions.

Hargrave began each 12 hour nursing shift with a positive attitude and remained constantly on the move. Some of the things he learned from his years with the police department carried over to his nursing career. One of which is how to talk to people in stressful situations.

“My relationship with the public transcended with my patients,” he said.

For the most part, people are more likely to respond positively when the other is nice to them. However, there are times when this is not an option and some are forced to resort to other methods.

‘I have a healthy respect for nurses who work the floor,” Hargrave said.

Over time, and even though he loved his job as a nurse, he began to miss being a cop. When he heard about the openings at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, he applied for the job. He has been at the OCSO two weeks and is happy to be there.

He remained friends with others in law enforcement and the transition back was easy.

His new job duties as Lieutenant in the Support Division include, security systems for the courthouse and the computers, to oversee the court bailiffs and deputies who serve civil papers and warrants.

“The people here are extraordinarily helpful,” Hargrave said of his new job and the assistance he receives.

He added, he works with a good set of employees and the sheriff’s office as a whole is the best it  has ever been. Hargrave also said he would not want to work with any other law enforcement agency.

“I think this is a good move for me,” Hargrave said.

However, it is Hargrave’s hard work and dedication to his jobs which has carried him this far.

‘We are very happy to have him here,” said Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson. “He is a valuable asset to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.”