WEST PORTSMOUTH — As children took to the hills to sleigh ride, one local deputy knew he had to get in on the fun and help any way he could.
While patrolling the streets of Washington Township, Scioto County Sheriff Deputy Martin Potts saw children enjoying their snow day and trying to sleigh ride with a piece of plastic. After observing the children trying but failing, Potts purchased several sleds for the group and others in the community.
“I try to look out for the kids, especially here in Washington Township,” Potts said. “Any chance I see to try to connect with the kids here, I do.”
Potts explained growing up, he did not always have a lot of money and playing in the snow was one of his favorite things to do. Seeing the children out trying to go sledding but failing because they didn’t have the correct equipment struck a chord with him and gave him an idea.
“So, I drove around looking for sleds,” Potts said.
After purchasing the sleds and delivering them to the first group of children, he drove around to see where other children might sled and he would stealthily put the sleds out and leave.
“If the kids came out, I would say if you have friends that want to sled, these are for you and I got back in my cruiser and left,” Potts said. “I stopped back by and saw a lot of them sleighing down the hill and thought, good they are being used. I dropped off a few other sleds to kids that I thought might not have any to use also.”
Potts shared that being outside and sleigh riding was a stress reliever for him growing up and that he would rather have children being active and playing outside than sitting at home all the time or getting into trouble.
“A lot of the guys on my shift, we try to do stuff like that, during the summer, we’ll jump out and play basketball and football with the kids if we don’t have calls,” Potts said.
When Potts first started patrolling Washington Township, he shared that many children seemed scared of him. Potts wanted to change the local children’s perception of law enforcement and even started carrying stuffed animals with him to give to children he met.
“I’m the Washington Township deputy and unless I’m working overtime or covering someone else’s shift, I’m here in West Portsmouth driving around,” Potts said. “My dad was a cop my entire life growing up and I got to ride with him some. My dad was always really kind and compassionate to people. I feel like it is my responsibility to keep that going for him.”
When speaking about all the negativity with law enforcement right now, Potts said that he didn’t feel it was as much as it might be in a big city like Columbus. He said that because the county is small, it is a lot easier to deal with it. The people he deals with daily he also sees at the store, and because it is a smaller community, they are able to see each other as people and connect in a better way other than just law enforcement and citizens.
Sheriff Thoroughman posted on Facebook with the photo about Potts, “I am very honored to serve as the Sheriff to Deputies and staff who truly embody a servant’s heart!” Although Potts did not want the recognition, he said that he was glad it was for something positive.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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