For The Tribune
Choose a career that you enjoy, and work hard to make advancements.
That was the message four Seymour High School graduates stressed to Seymour Middle School students during a recent career program at the school.
Officer Rick Meyer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. Paul Adams with the Indiana State Police, Sgt. Ryan Huddleston with the Seymour Police Department and FBI agent Todd Prewitt told the middle school students why they chose careers in law enforcement.
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Meyer, Prewitt and Adams all were members of Seymour’s 1988 state championship baseball team, and Huddleston also played baseball for the Owls.
Adams, commander of the Versailles Post, said he has been in law enforcement for 24 years and began his career with the Madison Police Department.
“A lot of these things, you just react to,” he said of investigating all types of crime, from shootings to burglaries to speeders.
Prewitt said he was a state police detective for five years before he attended FBI school and became an FBI agent in 2001. He said while he worked in Pittsburgh, he investigated gangs.
During his career, he also has worked two Super Bowls — Dallas and Indianapolis — and worked an MLB All-Star game.
“Ninety-five percent of our cases start with local law enforcement,” Prewitt said. “We work together.”
Huddleston talked about being a canine officer, saying a dog he had could smell 32 different odors at the same time.
Several middle school students asked the officers questions. Colton Wetzel asked them the most serious thing that has happened to them.
Meyer was the first to answer and told about the night he was shot by two men near Tampico. That incident happened three years ago.
Adams, Meyer, Prewitt and Huddleston recalled their days attending Seymour Middle School.
Chris Kleber, a teacher at the middle school who was in charge of the career program, coached all four players in baseball at the high school.
Adams, Meyer and Prewitt talked about winning the state title in Indianapolis. The Owls had a record of 35-2 that season.
“It felt great,” Adams said. “I was the catcher, and I was exhausted. We worked hard, and we set goals, and that helped me get through the state police academy.”
Prewitt said it was a relief after falling short his junior season.
“I felt a little pressure,” Prewitt said. “I wasn’t thinking about winning. I was thinking, ‘Todd, you can’t lose it.’ I was 9-0 (pitching record) my junior year, and we lost in the semistate.”
Meyer said all of the teammates are still friends.
He said he played four years of minor league baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization before he got into law enforcement.
“I didn’t get into police work until I was 35 or 36 years old,” he said. “I’ve had 17 years experience, including time as a reserve officer. We all have the same arrest power.”
The former athletes were asked about the most frustrating and most fulfilling parts of their job, and all said they like being able to help people in need.
“I enjoy being a first responder,” Huddleston said. “The most frustrating part of it is seeing former students strung out on drugs. It’s sad that kids still make that choice. You can’t help them because they don’t want the help.”
Prewitt said the most frustrating thing to him is the way law enforcement is perceived on television.
“It’s not anything like that,” he said.
All four said it’s always nice when they receive support from their families.