News Staff Report
The Billy Glenn Rushing Post 90 of the American Legion honored a local hero in a ceremony at the post on Tuesday, June 11. Members of the community, city government, and the Atmore Police department attended to honor and recognize the Legion’s award recipient.
Sergeant Ryan James, a 12-year veteran of the Atmore Police department, was honored as the local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. He received a plaque, certificate of appreciation and an American Legion 100-year centennial coin.
James knew at a young age that he wanted to serve his country in a branch of the military. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of several veterans in his family. His father, John James, served in the Army during the Vietnam War; his grandfather, Red Vickery, served in the Marines during World War II; his great-grandfather, Johnnie F. Vickery, served in the Army Rainbow Division in World War I; and his great-great-grandfather, A.T. Lee was Atmore’s first town marshal.
James graduated Escambia County High School in May 2000 and immediately enlisted in the Army National Guard attending basic training in June. In June 2002, James deployed to Afghanistan with approximately 3,000 troops from the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division where he served with honor. After his six-month deployment, James returned to Atmore and began working for the Alabama Department of Corrections. However, he felt that something was missing.
James believes that “only a life in the service of others is a life worthwhile.”
He made a career change and successfully completed the Alabama Police Academy in March 2007 and became a patrolman for the Atmore Police Department. Patrolman James not only found his passion for serving his country but also in serving his community. He was rewarded for his hard work and dedication, earning promotion to sergeant in August 2016.
When asked why he chose a career path of military service and law enforcement, his answer was simple, “To serve my country and to do what is right.”
Sergeant Ryan James is the son of John and Peggy James and is husband to Jodi.
The Law Enforcement of the Year program is offered annually by the American Legion, and this is the first year the local Post has participated. The goal is to provide opportunities for agencies to submit an outstanding candidate to the Alabama Department each year via Post 90.
Each year, The American Legion gives its National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement. The award, which especially considers heroic acts, is presented annually at the Legion’s national convention. The National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award recognizes officers who go above the call of duty. A major secondary purpose of this award is to encourage further development of department and post Law and Order Committees through continued recognition of law enforcement officers. It is firmly believed this award serves to promote public trust and support of law enforcement agencies.