There’s a series of steps that must be successfully completed to become a sergeant and McDonald managed to complete all those steps and became a sergeant in August 2005. “From deputy to corporal there’s a series of steps that you have to satisfy. Training, time in grade and once you satisfy those, you receive the rank of corporal, you don’t have to test for it. To test for sergeant, we have an outside company come in. When I took it, there were several steps, you took a written exam on laws, policy and then you did an editing exercise and the last step was an oral board,” McDonald explained.
As the supervisor of the Community Oriented Policing Unit McDonald strives to enhance the relationship between the community and the sheriff’s office. The Immokalee substation takes pride in being involved with local organizations such as Immokalee Chamber of Commerce and the Immokalee Kiwanis. While working side by side with Immokalee locals and organizations McDonald has built many relationships and has met many people which he says is the most rewarding part of his job.
“It’s a unique community in the sense that it exemplifies neighbor helping neighbor, whether its businesses helping people in the wake of hurricane Irma or whether its civic groups like the chamber of commerce helping in the community or even as simple as one person to another. It’s nice to see in Immokalee you still see people holding the door open for other people, you still hear people saying please and thank you and just being respectful and that’s the most rewarding part of my job,” he said.
Working with people is something that McDonald has a true passion for and revealed that if he was not working with law enforcement he would probably be a school teacher and a coach.
Law enforcement is not always easy but some advice McDonald has for anyone who is considering going into law enforcement is “get into it for the right reasons, have an understanding of what law enforcement is and not what you see on TV or read in the news, make a decision that, that’s what you want to do because as in any other job you have to be committed to what you’re doing and law enforcement is a career that is what you make out of it, if you’re invested in it and you want to improve not only the way you do your job but the community you live in you have to have the right focus.”
Recognizing a police officer is not a difficult task. The stern uniform and the flashing red and blue lights are a few indicators that a police officer is in your presence.
When asked if there’s anything that McDonald would like to alter about a police officer uniform he simply suggested adjusting it to make it more lightweight, “I would like to make it lighter, for instance when you put the vest on and things like that. We live in a hot environment and it can be very uncomfortable and sometimes over a long period of time it can lead to long-term injuries. Probably just design it to make it more comfortable and less load bearing.”
McDonald also shared what his idea of a perfect cop car would be, a car that is customized to the community and organization that it is serving.
McDonald hopes to educate both adults and children on law enforcement and would like police officers to be seen as a neighborhood friend not just a scary person in a cop car.
With the ongoing news coverage of police shootings in this nation and the negative attitude toward the police nationwide, the staff of the Immokalee Bulletin has decided to show our support to the men and women of theCollier County Sheriff’s Department who protect us every day. In the following weeks we will be introducing you to them and letting you know what they do to keep you safe every day.