You hear their sirens, then you see them fly by in a flash. You’ve see them parked casually on the side of the roadway enforcing traffic to keep motorists safe, and you’ll see them running into danger to rescue someone in need. You pass them in your everyday encounters—in the grocery store, at the gas station, on the street. You’re familiar with their vehicles, their uniform, and maybe even their names and faces, but do you really know them? Who’s the man or woman behind that badge? Well, from here on out, look no further than the pages of The Crossroads Chronicle for the answer to that question. Introducing “Behind the Badge,” The Chronicle’s Mike Williams will be interviewing area law enforcement officials from various departments to better acquaint the public with the members of the local blue brethren.
First up is Trooper Gerald Lyles of Post 19, a 35-year-old resident of Treutlen County. He answers a few questions below related to his job.
What is your education background?
Trooper Lyles: I graduated from Treutlen High School and attended Southeastern Technical College.
How long have you been a trooper?
Trooper Lyles: I have worked on the road as trooper for 12.5 years.
Why did you decide to become a trooper?
Trooper Lyles: I watched troopers as a kid and remembered how people acted when they were around. Then, when I worked at the jail, I saw how much respect other agencies and people gave them.
What is the favorite part of your job?
Trooper Lyles: My favorite part of my job is serving our community and investigating crashes.
What is your work history with the GSP?
Trooper Lyles: I worked in our communication center for 1.5 years before I became a trooper.
What posts have you worked at?
Trooper Lyles: I have been fortunate to have worked at three different posts in my career. The posts are Post 6 in Gainesville, Post 19 in Swainsboro, and Post 45 in Statesboro.
What does the badge mean to you?
Trooper Lyles: To me, the badge means several things: being professional to everyone, knowing how to communicate to people, serving and protecting the public from anything, and, most of all, courage.
Who is your support system?
Trooper Lyles: My biggest support system is my family and friends.
How does your family deal with the different aspects of your job?
Trooper Lyles: My family always supports me in whatever I need to do concerning my job.
How do you deal with the stresses of your job?
Trooper Lyles: When I feel the stress of job-related issues, I talk to another trooper if I need to, but most of all I pray.
How have things changed over the years?
Trooper Lyles: Our department has joined with United States Marine Corp and helps with kids during Christmas. I have gone from writing citations by hand to using a computer. We used to have VHS in our patrol vehicle, but now everything is recorded to the cloud.
What are some issues that you have to deal with under the current atmosphere?
Trooper Lyles: The biggest issue we are having to deal with right now is COVID. For the people I come in contact with overall, they still have a positive attitude toward law enforcement officers.
Check back next week for another Behind The Badge feature. As always, The Chronicle appreciates the time that Trooper Lyles spent answering these questions.