Local 4 News is digging deeper into the increase of juvenile crimes in the Quad Cities Area.
On Monday, we showcased the different ways law enforcement officials are trying to tackle the problem on both sides of the river.
This search for answers also brought proof that one person can truly make a difference
Deputy Sean Thompson got into trouble as a teenager before he ever patrolled the streets for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
He got several tickets for drag racing as a 16-year-old.
Then, he hit a turning point.
“If it wasn’t for him and another one of his buddies, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I’d probably be going through the system,” says Scott County Deputy Sean Thompson.
Before patrolling davenport’s streets, he was speeding through them.
“I just was being a hellian,” Thompson.
The Quad Cities native grew up in a low income, single-parent household in Central Davenport.
And at 16, Thompson was just another statistic in one of the city’s biggest problems at the time.
“You’re trying to drag race down these one ways and we all remember in the ’80s that was one of the problems Davenport had.”
As Thompson’s citations piled up, the one person who helped him the most was the person who pulled him over one day.
“He mentioned: ‘Why are you doing this? What in the end are you going to get out of this?’ And it kind of clicked with me like, ‘I don’t know. Bragging rights? I don’t know,'” says Thompson.
That Davenport lieutenant’s frank discussion sparked a life-changing connection.
“It wasn’t a talking down to me, he was talking right at me. And I respected that. And he respected me and just wow, what a change in my life,” Thompson says.
And the badge that Thompson tried to avoid for years became a saving grace.
“He didn’t do anything special other than allow me to come into his office and talk. And I just absolutely loved it,” he says.
Thompson says he recognizes that officers can’t connect with every child, but he says they can all start by reaching one.
He also says the initiative goes beyond the uniform.
“It’s a combination of things; you’ve got to have the respect, you’ve got to have the village, you’ve got to have the will to want to be different.”