SPD veteran enjoying new role as Detective PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janna Ross   
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 11:27

The new Sellersburg Police Detective may be “new” in the role but is not new at the department. A very familiar face to the residents of Sellersburg is now enjoying his new role. Lt. Drew LaMaster stepped into the role of Detective on August 1.

LaMaster is community driven as his roots are deep in the Sellersburg community.

“I am from this community. Other than when I was living in Evansville going to USI (University of Southern Indiana), I have lived here my whole life,” LaMaster explained. “My family is here. My kids go to school here. I went to school here. My kids go to St. Paul, I went to St. Paul.”

LaMaster is a 1996 graduate of Providence High School. He attended the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville before being hired full-time by the Sellersburg Police Department in August 2001.

His choice of profession actually came to him while attending a presentation in high school. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office visited Providence to make a presentation about drugs to the students. LaMaster recalls fondly the actual presentation from the Spring of 1995.

“I was a junior in high school. I am almost certain it was Jimmy Hale from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. He is the Detective now. The County officers gave a presentation in the gym about drugs. The presentation had the actual stuff out on the table. That presentation really impressed me,” LaMaster recalled. “That was the first time I thought I think I could do that. Jimmy and I are still buddies to this day.”

LaMaster continued his classes at Providence and entered University of Southern Indiana on a path of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Once on campus, like many other college students, LaMaster had to find a job. LaMaster’s interest in criminal justice and law enforcement led him to the one logical place for a job, campus security.

The campus security role at USI allowed LaMaster to gain knowledge and experience while working with retired police officers and other students.

“Our campus security at USI was a group of retired police officers and student security officers. I was able to sit and talk to those retired officers and hear first-hand accounts of what their careers were like. I was hooked. I again thought I can do that,” LaMaster added.

LaMaster’s hometown police department gave him the opportunity to get his internship. In order to successfully complete the internship LaMaster had to finish 150 hours of ride along time with officers of the department.

LaMaster finished the internship and with each passing hour, knew he had made the right decision on becoming a police officer. After his internship he was told about the Sellersburg Police’s Reserve Department. He applied for the Reserves and was accepted into the then newly formed program. He continued to attend USI and work to gain hours with the Sellersburg Police Department before applying for one of two full-time positions within the department.

Then the moment arrived that would define his career. He was offered a full-time position with his hometown police department. A department that he had spent countless hours working side-by-side with officers and learning what it takes to be a successful police officer. The dilemma was two fold, one finish college and hope that another opportunity comes along to reach his dream of becoming a police officer or take the full-time job offer and begin making his dream a reality.

Sixteen years later, LaMaster obviously made the right decision. He has worked the streets for the police department until recently being named Detective.

“I worked the street for 16 years. I was ready for a change. These hours are flexible. Sometimes I work long days but there is a lot more flexibility in my schedule than there used to be,” LaMaster explained. “Before I had to be here and ready to go at a certain time. There was another officer waiting to go home when I came on. If I was running late, they were like, where are you? Now I am the only detective. There is not anybody waiting for me.”

He continued, “Actually, now I am more busy than I have ever been. Now it is a lot of busy work. A lot of paper work. Before I would just go and do one case at a time. Now it is multiple cases at once.”

LaMaster is adjusting well to the new role and like with any job, there are some downsides to the detective’s position.

“Now I am on call all the time. Unless I am out of town like a few weeks ago, I was in Florida with my family, but unless I am out of town, I am on call. But, that also works into the flexibility of my schedule. My hours will not always be 9 to 5, but I may get called out at 3 in the morning and work until noon. That would be my day,” LaMaster stated.

LaMaster continued to explain his biggest challenge in the new role.

“What aggravates me the most, it’s something I have to work on. I am trying to work on it, but when I worked the street when I left here and my shift was done, most of the time when I left I was caught up. That’s my biggest challenge now, it’s not just one case at a time. It is several. I come into work and know I have three things I have to finish today. Then I get a phone call from the prosecutor and they have to have something for a case. Then that becomes a priority and the other things go to the back of the list. Then I get a call that needs immediate attention and then it becomes the number one priority,” LaMaster explained. “Every detective I have ever talked to always says, ‘that’s just the job.’ I am just so used to being caught up at the end of the day and that doesn’t happen now. When you are on the streets and you have to have four reports done, the other officers know and leave you alone to finish those reports. Now, it’s just me, I am the only detective working to get caught up. It’s a challenge but apparently, it’s every detective’s biggest challenge.”

LaMaster took a moment to gather his thoughts before answering “what do you want the public to know about you?”

LaMaster smiled and put his hands together on the table as he thought about what he truly wanted the public to know about the hometown police officer.

“That’s a really good question. I want them to know that I still love my job. I still love my community. I am dedicated to the department. I am dedicated to helping people,” LaMaster said.

He continued, “There are some cases where you can’t expect miracles. We can’t fix some things. There are some people that they expect once we get involved everything will be fixed and be better. We get involved and work to the extent of the law, but we are not miracle workers. Some people want miracle workers but we are just not miracle workers. We don’t have a magic wand that can fix everything. Believe me, I wish we did.”

LaMaster also wanted the public to know that he will always be accessible to the citizens of Sellersburg.

“I’m accessible. If you have an issue and you want to talk to me about it. Then just call and ask to talk directly to me. I’d be glad to speak with them. I love working for the town. This is a new role, this is a new opportunity. I now help people in a different way than I used to help them. This is a lot more paperwork and leg work. Before, I was out in the spot light working traffic stops and crashes, now I am still helping people, just in a different way. But I will always be accessible to the people. I will always listen to their concerns. I’d be more than happy to speak with them. If they want to discuss something, they can call and ask to speak to me.”

LaMaster is ready for the challenge of his new role as detective at the Sellersburg Police Department. The transition has been a smooth one and he is ready to continue his new role at the department he has called home for 16 years.

If you would like to speak with Detective LaMaster please contact him at the Sellersburg Police Department at 812-246-4491.