When Steve Scott graduated from Broken Bow High School in 1978, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. Thirty years later, he is still doing it.
Last week, Broken Bow Police Chief Scott celebrated 30 years of service to the police department and to the community of Broken Bow. He says from the time he was a sophomore in high school he knew he wanted to be a police officer.
“My dream back then was to be a patrolman,” Scott remembers.
He first came to Broken Bow in 1969, when he was adopted by the Scott family. Prior to that Scott says he got into his fair share of trouble, and had a habit of running away from his foster home in search of his mother.
Broken Bow seemed to be a good move for Scott, providing him the love and support he was needing. He, in turn, has developed a sense of loyalty to the community which has been a key factor is his years of service here.
After graduating from high school, Scott went to Chadron State College and earned an associate degree in criminal justice. When he returned to Broken Bow he was approached by then police chief, Bob Jaseck, who asked him to apply for the force. Scott did, and started his career Oct. 20, 1980.
“I can remember my first day on the job and wondering what I was getting myself in to,” Scott laughs. “After only about two hours on the job I went on my first coroner call.
“A week later I was riding with the Field Training Officer (FTO) and we got called to a domestic disturbance. We pulled up and this guy comes running out of the house with a lady chasing him with a shotgun. I thought, ‘wow - this is real!’”
Scott says the department, and policing in general, has undergone some dramatic changes since he first joined the force. Some of the biggest changes come in the field of technology and communications. Computers and video equipment in the patrol cars have changed the way the job is done, and therefore the training has also made significant changes.
“Even our service revolvers have changed,” laughs Scott.
He says when he first started the department had one portable radio and one flashlight that everyone shared. Only one patrol car had an AM radio in it, so Scott used to carry his portable cassette player with him so he could listen to music while out on patrol.
“Now everybody has their own computer, radio and everything else,” he says.
There was one desk in the office that all the officers shared back then, and one typewriter they all used to type up their reports. Each officer had their own drawer in the one filing cabinet in the office.
As for his aspirations of becoming a patrolman, Scott says he did try once or twice. But after a few years on the BBPD he formed a deep loyalty to the department and community and chose to stay.
“I never even dreamed I would be here 30 years - no way!”
Scott says when he first returned to the community where he grew up he did meet some challenges. There were a few times, he recalls, when he had to arrest someone he had gone to school with or knew well, and he says sometimes they would give him a hard time about it. But that didn’t happen often, or for very long.
“I have always tried to treat people the way I want to be treated. I know that is an old saying, but I believe in it,” says Scott.
“I have no regrets for my service to the city of Broken Bow and the protection of its citizens. I would like to continue serving here as long as I stay healthy, and as long as the people want me here.”
The Broken Bow Police Department currently has five officers plus Scott on the force. Some of them offered to share stories about their boss, but those will have to wait for another story. In the meantime, the citizens of Broken Bow can be confident in knowing our police chief is doing all he can to keep us safe.