Salute the Badge: Sean Swords takes on two roles to serve community

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Law enforcement and firefighters have always had a bit of rivalry, but Sean Swords is bridging that gap through his passion for public service.

"In high school when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in life, I was trying to get a sense of which direction did I want to go and I really couldn't decide," he said.

His decision was between law enforcement and fire -- and in 2002 Swords chose his path when he began working at a fire department in Russell, Kansas.

But, in 2005 he decided to explore law enforcement instead.

Swords said, "Fire is a lot more reactive and law enforcement I can be proactive."

Fast forward to 2020, Swords is now serving the people of Shawnee County.

"Not only am I fire, but I'm also law enforcement," he said.

Swords works for the Shawnee Heights Fire District by day and Kansas Highway Patrol by night.

He said, "I've been doing both of them at the same time for quite awhile."

With the ongoing rivalry between law enforcement and fire, Swords said he gets flack from both sides.

Even though they give him a hard time, Shawnee Heights fireman Kris Dodds said Swords is an asset.

"He does a really good job at separating the two," said Dodds, "If need be he can bring that law enforcement aspect to our job."

Swords said, "It's very rewarding and filling knowing that I can help people in a multitude of ways."

A few moments in his career particularly stand out.

"We got called to an unresponsive and I was one of the first ones there and we actually got him back, that's one of the good ones," Swords said, "One of the scary parts that I've ran into is we had a house fire in Montara and I was pulling ceiling down because the fire was in the attic, and there had been so much water up there that the entire ceiling actually collapsed down on me."

Through both good and bad experiences, Swords said he's never questioned if this is what he's meant to do.

"I enjoy doing this for the people in the community," he said, "Without those of us in law enforcement and fire, might not be both as the same person, but we could not function as a community. There has to be those of us that sacrifice our time to help everybody else."

Swords said between the two jobs, he still makes time for his family.