Newest town officer sworn in: Uniontown native joins department, fufilling dream



Holding up his left hand and placing his right hand on a Bible, Samuel Hughes was sworn in as the Brownstown Police Department’s newest officer.

Standing across from him, holding the Bible and wearing a brown sheriff’s department uniform was his ex-father-in-law, Jac Sanders, a deputy with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.

He’s among the people who influenced Hughes to get into law enforcement, so it was a special moment for the 23-year-old.

“It just kind of hit me,” Hughes said. “It almost was like a dream there for a while, that I’m really doing this now and I really made it. It’s not easy to get into law enforcement at all, so it just kind of hit home, ‘Wow! I did it.’ I just got a little emotional about it.”

While he had worked a couple of law enforcement jobs since he turned 19, joining the Brownstown department signifies a new journey.

“College, working multiple jobs in a career field that I felt was a steppingstone — just knowing that you’ve made it to what you’ve chosen to do,” he said. “You might have seen me a little teary-eyed at the swearing-in. It means everything. For people that are in this, it’s more than just a career. It really is a lifestyle, so it is personal. It was exciting. It was beyond amazing.”

Hughes’ hiring puts Brownstown’s force at seven full-time officers. He’s the third officer to be hired since August.

“We’re bringing in a new generation in law enforcement,” Chief Tom Hanner said. “We’re bringing in a proactive element.”

As seasoned officers retire or leave for another job, Hanner said he chooses to replace them with recruits who are eager to learn and serve.

“And personality, that’s something we look at whenever we’re hiring an officer,” Hanner said. “Sam has a really good personality and is going to be a great asset to the community.”

Hughes grew up in Uniontown and attended Crothersville schools until eighth grade.

“My dad was an evangelist, so we ended up moving a lot, and I finished my schooling at home doing homeschooling,” he said.

After finishing that in 2012, he attended Oakland City University and earned an associate degree in criminal justice in 2016.

Besides his ex-father-in-law, Hughes was influenced by family members to get into law enforcement, including uncles who serve as correctional officers. One works at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute.

“When I’m 80 years old, hopefully still in good shape, I want to be able to look back and say I did something that helped somebody, and I want to do something that made a difference,” he said. “For me, it was criminal justice, it was law enforcement.”

He was a correctional officer at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh for a couple of years. For a while, he worked there and also was a jailer for the Scott County Sheriff’s Department until he decided to just hold down the latter job.

Hughes said he benefited from those experiences.

“You kind of see an aspect of the criminal justice system how it kind of integrates all together, but I would say the biggest thing in preparing me is just being able to deal with people in general,” he said. “In a correctional setting, you’re in closed environments with … people that have been convicted, so I would say it just has given me an ability to be able to deal with people.”

Hughes was drawn to the Brownstown job after seeing a post on the department’s Facebook page. He also knew Sanders had worked there part time in the past.

“He spoke very highly of the department, and ever since he has left there, he has always whispered that department in my ear,” Hughes said. “I saw an opportunity on Facebook and applied for it.”

After passing a written exam and a physical agility test, he was interviewed by the Brownstown Town Council and Hanner.

“With my experience that I had, plus my college — and I had applied for a few positions before elsewhere, and so I had experience with that process in itself — I felt that gave me an edge,” Hughes said. “Going in, I felt good. I felt like I had a good interview, and it wasn’t a couple hours after I left that I got a phone call that I was moving on.”

He then passed the background check and received a call from Hanner offering him the job.

His first day was Jan. 8, and he was sworn in that night during a town council meeting.

“I am so impressed,” Hughes said. “For as little of a department as it is, it seems to be really well-funded, we have great equipment, the training staff has been amazing, the town council has been amazing to me. Everybody is helpful, answers questions. Everybody has their own little piece that they want to throw in there, and I’m trying to absorb everything. So far, it seems like a great place to be. I’m really excited for the opportunity.”

Hughes’ second week on the job consisted of 40-hour prebasic training at a training center in Floyd County.

That gave him full police powers, and he will continue to train with the Brownstown officers.

Once the other two newest officers complete their 16 weeks at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, Hughes will take his turn there.

“Just being able to get my feet wet, learning the ins and outs of the job, really the basic fundamentals of the job you get there, I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “It’s very pro-military, so I’m looking forward to that, too, just the structure in itself and being in there and doing something that’s going to benefit me and the department hopefully for years to come.”

Hughes said he’s ready to settle in at Brownstown.

“I’m super-excited,” he said. “It’s sometimes very hard to get onto a department. You may have 80 applicants and one position, so when someone gets one, you need to make the best of it. That’s what I plan to do. I’m just grateful.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Hughes file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Samuel Hughes

Age: 23

Hometown: Uniontown

Residence: Scottsburg

Education: Attended Crothersville schools until eighth grade before being homeschooled and finishing in 2012; Oakland City University (associate degree in criminal justice, 2016)

Occupation: Officer with the Brownstown Police Department


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