Curtis Campbell reaches people on patrol and on the court

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, February 23, 2023

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Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Campbell is a Greenville native who has spent 25 years serving the public through local law enforcement. As a young man, Curtis aspired to work in law enforcement under the influence of a mentor, former Fort Deposit Police Chief James Gulley, and now he inspires young residents to reach out to their communities as well.

“He was a police officer with the Greenville Police Department and moved up to Lowndes County to become the Fort Deposit Police Chief,” Campbell said about Gulley. “He was well respected, the kind of man who walked in the door and everybody started to straighten up. He influenced me, and what keeps me doing this now is my ability to reach people of all ages and all nationalities. I’m approachable. I can approach anyone, and anyone can approach me.”

After graduating from Greenville High School in 1984, Campbell eventually entered law enforcement in 1997, working in investigations and narcotics for around 17 years.

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“I worked in criminal and narcotics investigations,” Campbell said. “My Lowndes County law enforcement career spanned about 20 years in the Fort Deposit Police Department and Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.”

In 2017, Campbell joined the Butler County Sheriff’s Office where he works to diffuse situations before they escalate, whenever possible.

“I would say the easiest part of the job of law enforcement would be to put someone in jail,” Campbell said. “The hardest part sometimes is to convince violators or anyone who is about to break the law not to do anything which rises to the level of illegal activity. We are here to make a difference, and I guess sometimes the public looks at us like superheroes, but we’re normal people just like they are.”

Charles Box, minister to Walnut Street Church of Christ, has known Campbell for many years through church connects and as a Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy.

“He’s always been straight-up honest and very kind,” Box said. “I’ve seen him dealing with some very heated situations from a legal standpoint. He was very calm, very gentle, always getting the situation calmed down.”

Box, who volunteers with the Second Judicial Circuit Drug Court, described how Campbell makes a difference in his community.

“Campbell is just very impressive,” Box said. “He came and shared a lesson with a personal development drug court class. As we talked, he shared his heart. He’s concerned for people and he cares about people.”

In addition to his successful career in law enforcement, Campbell also works as a sports official and has refereed basketball, baseball, and softball for local teams for 30 years.

“I enjoyed sports in high school and college [at Alabama A&M],” Campbell said. “I played a little intramural basketball in college.”

Campbell said former athletic director and Greenville Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jerome Harris, Jr. asked him to consider officiating local sports, and he has enjoyed the role ever since.

“I enjoy intermingling with the kids, coaches, and fellow officials,” Campbell said.

In that role, as in law enforcement, Campbell ensures people’s safety and makes a difference.

“We keep ourselves, our community, our state, and our nation as safe as possible,” Campbell said. “If you can reach one person, that’s your retirement right there — looking back, knowing that you’ve helped someone.

“As a sports official, I’ve taken on the task of being the ref that makes sure no one team gains any unfair advantage over the other. And, I leave it all on the court. Once the game is over, I don’t want to be known as the ref that cost the child their season or state championship. By officiating sports for 30 years, I’ve seen kids who I officiated in the 1990s who now have kids I officiate.”

When not coaching, Campbell enjoys attending College Street Church of Christ and spending time with his two sons, Brentley Hill and Curtis Campbell, and his grandson, Brennon Hill.

“I’ve been called Curt and Curtis within law enforcement, and I’ve been ‘Dad,’ which is a great honor,” Campbell said. “But the greatest thing I’ve ever been called is Pop Pop.”