Sitting on the hood of his patrol car eating blueberry muffins with a little girl who was hungry is one of the many memories that will stick with Officer E. DeWayne Poston. After a career of service with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), retirement is the next step and Officer Poston will remember those little moments more than any others.
Responding to calls of high importance like robberies and murder investigations get the adrenaline pumping, but nothing compares to making a kid smile. That’s part of why he decided to spend his entire career as a patrol officer. Getting to be part of the community, outdoors and in the neighborhoods is what makes the job.
On this particular night, Officer Poston was patrolling a neighborhood that had recently seen several shootings. When the girl approached his car, they chatted and she asked, “Do you have any food?” He broke open his lunch box and the two shared muffins and a sandwich before she headed home.
Interacting with kids is one of the simplest things, Officer Poston says. Letting them climb in the patrol car and turn on the lights is a small gesture but it’s one he’ll take with him from years on the streets of Charlotte.
“When you’re in the field, you’re in the car riding by yourself for the most part,” Officer. Poston says. “You’re self-motivated to do what needs to be done.”
Motivation to serve isn’t something anyone in the Poston family lacks. Officer Poston’s father retired as a captain from Charlotte Fire Department and all three brothers were CMPD officers. Officer Poston is the eldest, the middle brother retired from CMPD and the youngest still works in the Central Division. All three Poston boys graduated from North Mecklenburg High School and stayed in the area.
“Working in the area you grew up in, you take pride caring for where you’re from,” Officer Poston says. “I look around and see the growth, development and population increase. I can remember being in high school and riding around with no other traffic on I-77 or being on Lake Norman and not seeing another boat.”
Even with all those local and family ties to serving Charlotte, becoming a police officer wasn’t in Officer Poston’s original plan. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and then in the Reserve back home in Charlotte. It was a friend who was also in the reserves and working at CMPD who sparked his interest. He knew the skills learned in the military would transition easily to CMPD and serve him well. Officer Poston joined CMPD in 1996, left for a short time, then returned in 2003 to the job he was so passionate about.
Officer Poston was a patrol officer his entire career and found a sense of gratification in being a training officer, taking rookies under his mentorship.
“As a training officer, you learn as much as they do,” Officer Poston says. “You’re constantly making sure you’re squared away yourself and that you’re taking complicated calls to give them the experience they need. I take pride when I see people promoted to sergeant and can say, ‘I trained that guy.’ When they come back and tell you they enjoyed riding with you and learned a lot – there’s pride in that.”
The calls when Officer Poston interacted with children and made their day or was able to help stick out the most. But the calls where he felt like he could have done something more or had something to improve on are equally as memorable. He’s always instructed his rookies to focus on those calls, too.
“I always tell them to critique themselves more than they critique anyone else,” Officer Poston says. “Those calls where you reflect and find something you could have done better – that’s a good sign. It’s a sign you’re always improving.”
Today, the next area Officer Poston plans to be constantly improving is his golf game. He’s looking forward to a decrease in calls and an increase in time by the coast. After a career dedicated to the service of the Charlotte community, it’s well-deserved.
Ready to answer the call and dedicate your career to community service? Get started today at charlottepolicejobs.org.