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06/28/24

Ministry and law enforcement go hand-in-hand for Ƶ officer

Gadsden, Ala. — Sgt. David Bankson of the Ƶ Police and Public Safety Department is all about the two P’s: Policing and Preaching.

“I support and serve my community as both a minister and a police officer,” he said. “As a minister, I provide spiritual guidance, counseling and support while as a police officer I provide safety and security. In both roles, I’m providing care to my community.”

Bankson was hired at Ƶ in September as one of the first law enforcement officers in the police department. The College announced in March 2023 that it was creating a new police department to serve all five of its campuses. Jay Freeman became the chief of police the following August.

“I served as a school resource officer in Hokes Bluff, so I knew I liked serving in the educational environment,” Bankson said. “There’s a lot of interaction with students, staff and administration. A college campus is a great place to create relationships. It’s not for everyone but I like it. I think Ƶ is a great place for me to wrap up my career.”

In May, Bankson was named Ƶ’s Police Officer of the Year by the Alabama Law Enforcement Appreciation Foundation. He was honored along with other area police officers at a luncheon held in Oxford during National Police Week.

“When I heard my name, I didn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought it was a set-up.”

Freeman said Bankson deserves recognition for being an outstanding officer.

“Sgt. Bankson has an unwavering dedication to Ƶ and to the communities we serve,” he said. “His exceptional professionalism and his commitment to upholding the highest standards of law enforcement exemplify what it means to be an outstanding officer.”

Bankson served in law enforcement for 18 years before coming to Ƶ. He also has been in the ministry for 25 years having served the last five years as pastor of Cove Creek Baptist Church in Glencoe.

“People in the church aren’t perfect,” he said. “They have problems, and I help them deal with those problems. I do the same thing at Ƶ. I’m a public servant in the church, and I’m a public servant in law enforcement. It’s all tied together.”

Bankson, who is serving his first term on the Hokes Bluff City Council, said his job as a pastor helps him in his job as a police officer and vice-versa.

“Being in the ministry helps me with de-escalation matters,” he said. “Working in a secular environment helps me with those in the church. I don’t forget that people have problems. Everyone has problems. I can relate to people in both worlds. I feel like I understand people from all walks of life.”

Bankson has a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry and Christian Studies, which he earned in 1999 from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to Charlotte for 38 years, and they have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Sgt. David Bankston with Ƶ Police Chief Jay Freeman after receiving Police Officer of the Year by the Alabama Law Enforcement Appreciation Foundation

Sgt. David Bankston with Ƶ Police Chief Jay Freeman after Bakston received Police Officer of the Year by the Alabama Law Enforcement Appreciation Foundation.