Salute Our Heroes: Officer works full-time for Seaman schools and Silver Lake Police Department

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 7:10 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Many people would consider working as a full-time police officer for one agency to be a challenge.

Working two full-time jobs for different agencies might seem to be out of the question.

But not for Douglas Ashcraft.

During the day, Aschcraft is an officer with the Seaman Unified School District 345 Police Department. He works primarily in the district's elementary schools.

Then, in the evenings, he puts on his Silver Lake Police Department uniform and goes to work in that town of about 1,500 people, located just northwest of Topeka.

Ashcraft says working primarily with children during the day and adults at night is a good fit for him.

“It’s awesome,” Ashcraft says. “I enjoy it. I get the best of both worlds. I get to work with the kids in the daytime, and then I go back and go into police mode over at Silver Lake, where I deal with adults and children.”

Ashcraft, 56, says putting his people skills to work is a key in how he approaches his police work, whether at school or in Silver Lake.

“You just want to talk to the people,” Ashcraft says. “You find out what they’re upset about. Usually, if they tell you, and you use some empathy and listen to what they’re telling you, they usually calm down, just by using people skills and talking to them. Then you try to help them the best you can.”

Listening to people helps him diffuse potentially volatile situations. Part of his strategy is to stay calm when dealing with people who may be upset.

“They’re upset 90 percent of the time or more when you get sent to a call,” Ashcraft says. “They just want someone to listen to them and show a little empathy. And then you work through it.”

Ashcraft started his law enforcement career in 1987 as a dispatcher with the Holton Police Department. He later served as an officer with that agency, and also with the Valley Falls Police Department. He also worked as an armed security officer at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka.

Ashcraft is in his third year working as an officer with the Seaman school district. He also has worked the past 11.5 years as a part-time officer with the Silver Lake Police Department.

When an opening for a full-time officer in Silver Lake became available recently, Ashcraft decided to give it a try. He noted he has been working nearly full-time hours for much of his time in Silver Lake, anyway.

“When it came open,” he says, “I thought, ‘You know, I’m going to try it and see what happens.’ I love the town. It’s a nice little town. I know a lot of people there.”

In spite of the demands on his schedule, Ashcraft says he isn’t concerned about serving in two full-time positions in law enforcement. He says he actually is looking forward to having some time off now that he’s working two full-time poli­­ce jobs.

“I’ve worked three or four jobs pretty much my whole adult life,” he says. “I’ve worked seven days a week probably for the last 13 or 14 years. So, it’ll be nice to have a couple of days off.”

He says his drive to stay in law enforcement is fueled by his desire to be of assistance to others.

“I love helping people,” he says. “I’m a people-person. It’s a calling. You either like it or you don’t. I just enjoy talking to people and helping them the best I can.

“I still have a job to do, but you make a lot of friendships. You get to know a lot of people.”

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