Police chief becomes inspiration for Thorsby student

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As a public servant, a difference can be made even when it is least expected.

That was the case for Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett, who has become a role model in the eyes of Colton Roper.

Roper attends Thorsby School and dressed up as a police officer during Heroes Day on Oct. 24 at the school.

While many children his age may think of comic books when it comes to who their heroes are, Roper does not have to look far to find Barnett.

“Colton was just so fascinated with Chief Barnett, and he looks forward to seeing him in the morning,” Rhonda Roper, Colton’s mother said. “It is a community school, and chief Barnett and the school both took him [Colton] in.”

The relationship the two have formed all began on a rainy morning earlier in the school year, when Barnett was helping traffic the car pool line in front of the school, which he has done since becoming police chief.

As Roper was getting dropped off, Barnett was able to lend a helping hand by helping Roper out of the car so that he would not get his new shoes wet in a puddle.

“It was just something that clicked within him [Colton], and being a parent, I was looking for any opportunity to get him on track,” Rhonda Roper said.

Since then, Barnett has been a role model to Colton, and an improvement has been seen in his attitude and performance in school.

“Sometimes this is an unthankful profession, but it makes it all worthwhile to see that there’s more good people than there are bad,” Barnett said.

According to Barnett, he tries to build a trusting relationship with the elementary children so that he already has a rapport with them as they grow up and move on to high school.

“You just never know what kind of influence you may have on somebody,” Barnett said. “I would much rather have a positive one, if possible. It’s always good to see when you’ve had an effect.”