VIDEO: How a Brentwood Police Officer Recruited a New Officer During a Traffic Stop

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The speed limit on Franklin Road, as it cuts through the Brentwood business district, is 35 miles per hour, but one night a few years ago, the speedometer needle on Wesley Carpenter’s car ticked up to 48. He’d just finished officiating a soccer match, so with memories of the game still playing in his head, Carpenter didn’t notice how fast he was going.

“I look in my mirror and there’s lights. Blue lights,” Carpenter said. A Brentwood Police cruiser had suddenly appeared behind him. “This guy is kind of like a phantom. He came out of nowhere.”

Carpenter, a Middle Tennessee State University student at the time, pulled over and rolled down his window, anxiously waiting for this “phantom” officer to appear. When he looked up, he was surprised to find the smiling face of BPD Officer Billy Townsend staring back at him. The friendly face, however, didn’t calm Carpenter’s nerves.

“He asked me who won the soccer game,” Carpenter said. “I started stuttering my words.”

The conversation continued longer than a typical traffic stop. Townsend patiently asked questions while Carpenter told him about his career goals once he graduated college.

“He mentioned to me that he was a student studying criminal justice at MTSU,” Townsend said. “I asked Mr. Carpenter if he had thought about applying to Brentwood. I gave him my card instead of giving him a ticket.”

A few days later, Carpenter called to see what Brentwood had to offer. He visited the new, state-of-the-art Police Headquarters off Heritage Way, and he rode with officers in the city’s iconic gray Dodge Chargers. Soon after that visit, he applied to join the Brentwood Police Department. On June 26, he was officially commissioned as one of the city’s newest police officers.

Carpenter, now wearing a blue uniform, smiles when he thinks how his career started with a traffic stop; a traffic stop that turned into a life-changing conversation. This outcome doesn’t surprise his colleague, Officer Townsend. Once candidates learn about the BPD’s culture and philosophy, they work to prove they also have what Chief Richard Hickey calls a “servant’s heart.”

That’s what convinced Townsend.

“One of the main things that got me to apply here was I learned Brentwood is not a call-to-call police department,” he said. “What that basically means is when you start shift you don’t go from one place to another to another answering calls. We have the ability to be proactive, but you have the ability when you are at a call to take more time and invest yourself in those people you’re working for or working with.”

The BPD does not encourage speeding as a way of applying for a position. If you’re interested in working for the City of Brentwood, check the Human Resources website regularly for current job openings. And for more on Carpenter and Townsend’s story, visit https://youtu.be/9pG8mR5igoI.

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