Jorge Rivera took an unusual path to becoming a deputy with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. It’s a path that started in Mexico and began to take shape when a neighbor in McMinnville encouraged him to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Rivera, 33, was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and lived there for the early years of his life before moving to Warren County at age 8.
“My dad had already been living here and working,” said Rivera. “He got all the paperwork squared away and he came and got us. Hickory Creek was the first school I attended here. Then I went to the middle school and the high school.”
Rivera is a 2002 WCHS graduate. After high school, he spent a few years working at Pizza Hut and Sears, but began to think about a career in law enforcement.
“I had a neighbor who was talking to me about it and giving me insight about law enforcement,” said Rivera referring to neighbor Bob Patterson, a former city policeman. “He said I should probably start as a corrections officer to see if it was something I might like and go from there.”
That was 10 years ago. Rivera interviewed for a job as a corrections officer, commonly called a jailer. Guarding inmates in a cell who aren’t happy about being there, and in some cases want to hurt you, isn’t the best job, he said.
“I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it,” said Rivera when asked his thoughts on being a jailer. “It’s a totally different side than what I do now. I learned that with most of the inmates, if you give them respect, they will give you respect back. But it will keep you on your toes. I saw a little bit of everything in there.”
After a couple years as a jailer, Rivera became a transport officer. In this role, he was responsible for getting inmates where they needed to go outside of Warren County Jail. This could be to court, to a medical appointment, or to another incarceration facility.
“You don’t know what to expect,” said Rivera of being a transport officer. “You don’t know the whole story. You don’t know if they’re really sick and need medical attention, or if it’s some plan they have to try and escape. You have to remain aware for your own safety and the safety of the public.”
Rivera logged four years of stellar employment as a jailer and a transport officer. This earned him the chance to under-go training to become a deputy. Rivera received his training in Donelson and became a sheriff’s deputy in 2010.
Answering calls are a big part of his job and those calls can be for any type of situation. Rivera can be needed to respond to a wreck or a domestic dispute. He may respond to a burglary or a person trespassing.
“Most of the time you don’t know if weapons and alcohol are involved,” said Rivera. “Sometimes we will get that in-formation, but most of the time we don’t know. You have to take every call seriously and don’t lose your guard.”
Rivera isn’t the only member of his family who has pursued a career in law enforcement. His brother Abel also works with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and is the school resource officer at Centertown.
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