I recently sat down with Chief Deputy Wess Tyler from Denton County Constable Precinct 1, whom I had met previously through my work at LAW, to probe deeper into his inspiration and motivation as a police officer. Chief Deputy Tyler’s genuine dedication for his life’s work came across so passionately in previous conversations that I was interested in hearing more. For a man whose job requires him to be very much ‘on guard,’ the personal angle of the interview initially caught him a little ‘off guard.’ Like many who perform their roles from a place of servitude rather than to get attention or accolades, his initial reaction was not surprising. Grab some coffee and join me in getting to know more of his story.
Chief Deputy Tyler came to Texas at the age of five, and was raised in a family-oriented environment and, like many, grew up enjoying playing sports and having fun. He was driven from a young age, knowing he would enter a service dedicated to helping people. He had many ideas for what he wanted to do with his life, and finally decided to go to college to earn his criminal justice degree. Through his education, he gained invaluable knowledge, but only a fraction of what he would later learn by doing. After college, he went to serve at the Denton County Sheriff’s department and began his work in the detention department. He decided to move on to advance in different areas, including the Argyle Police, the Trophy Club PD for 16 additional years, along with the Irving Marshal’s Office where he then decided to retire briefly. All in all, he served for 23 dedicated years. Let’s just say it seems Wess Tyler is versatile, and well rounded in the communities around us. Admirably, “the type to run towards, not away from, a tornado,” as he described, Chief Deputy Tyler also cross-trained for EMS, fire, and disaster planning. All of the combined classes that he worked towards, aided in strengthening his skillset. ”The proof is in the pudding!” as they say–to date, Chief Deputy Tyler has proudly earned three life-saving medals. When asked about them, he humbly stated:
“I never expected, or even wanted a pat on the back for it. I’m a Christian man, and I believed God was allowing me to help. I was just placed in the right time and place.”
Along with the uplifting moments, there were obstacles that challenged Chief Deputy Tyler’s dedication to his career while attempting to balance his personal life. There were many midnight emergencies that required him to leave his own family alone to help another family in need. Chief Deputy Tyler was a single father to his son from age three to sixteen. He later on got married, and had two beautiful daughters.
“It isn’t a place, or career where you can have a ‘cup half-empty’ type of attitude,” he said; “We have to remain positive and try the best we can every day to do what we can for others.“
Adventurous and brave as he may be, Chief Deputy Tyler has a soft spot for the “littles.” Hopefully he won’t mind if I disclose that during our interview, he seemed to have to bite the inside of his cheek to control his emotions. He held back tears as he described particularly difficult experiences from life-threatening child drug-abuse to dangerous domestic violence encounters to merely administering a much-needed helping-hand. He openly acknowledged the hardest parts of his journey, but continuously reinforced the positive aspects of the job–truly helping people–far outweigh the negative.
He said “I know we have a tough look about us, intimidating at times. It’s not always intentional though. We look gruff, worn, and yes, the lines in our face tend to stand out more than our smile. We can’t shake sometimes what we have seen or been through. It stays with you, and whether you let it out or keep it in, it’s always there”
Chief Deputy Tyler retired after 23 years, but missed it so much that he returned to work in the civil department for another four years.
“The brotherhood and sisterhood that is gained from this career isn’t something that you can shake. It runs in your blood after a while.”
Unlike his childhood full of sports and simple fun, Chief Deputy Tyler’s adult life and career has been anything but games and simplicity. He was, and still is, an asset to the police force. He left me with a touching and honest message, a narrative I hope all will consider when honoring our men and women in blue:
“Every day we go out, not knowing whether we will make it home at the end of the day. In many circumstances we have only a split second to make a decision. Judges or attorneys may have ample time to analyze and think about things, but we don’t. We just try our best at every turn, and pray we are doing the right thing. My hope is people will begin to see us for who we are, and not what we wear. If I didn’t have God, and prayer I wouldn’t be able to deal with it all. I’m just a man, and I am just like anyone else. It’s hard, but we show up for you, and we always will.”