The Southlake Police Department recently hired three new lateral officers to join the force.
Officer Justin Acosta grew up in El Paso and received a degree in political science at the University of North Texas. While in college, he enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard and served six years as a combat engineer and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2015. When he returned home, he wanted to continue his career of helping people and found police work to be similar in nature to the military.
He worked for about three years at the Dallas Police Department and knew of the Southlake Police Department’s reputation from his wife, who is a Keller police officer. He loves the camaraderie of his fellow officers and said everyone in Southlake, citizens and officers alike, have been helpful and welcoming.
Officer Sheldon Barrett grew up in north Fort Worth, and came to Southlake after a 10-year career as a sergeant at the Richland Hills Police Department. He’s currently in college and plans to have his B.A. in Criminal Justice next year.
Officer Barrett said he’s always had a passion to serve. He was an electrician and plumber by trade, but when he was 30-years old, he felt the calling to fulfill his dream of being a police officer. He put himself through the Weatherford College Police Academy and was hired by Richland Hills.
Officer Barrett spent a month in Southlake when he attended a supervisor school Southlake hosted. He was impressed by the facilities and the people he met. He said he was looking for a department with a “family feel” and that Southlake fit the bill.
“I enjoy the daily challenges that come with being a police officer. This is an honorable profession and I truly feel I have made a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
Officer Emiliano Tejada also came to Southlake from the Richland Hills Police Department, where he worked under the aforementioned Officer Barrett. He grew up in Mendoza, Argentina and is currently attending college to obtain his B.A. in Criminal Justice.
Officer Tejada came to the United States when he was 10 years old. He attributes his livelihood and his family to America and said he wanted to serve and give back. He started with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office as a Detention Officer and then went on to the Richland Hills Police Department.
He said he chose Southlake due to their amazing reputation and the incredible support from the citizens. The one thing that’s surprised Officer Tejada about working in Southlake has been the vast amount of snake calls. “It’s not my favorite type of call,” he laughed.
Currently all three new laterals have completed the FTO (Field Training Officer) program and are now working the same night shift together. They bring professionalism, experience, and vast police knowledge to our fair city, and we ask you to welcome them.