Officer Karey Parker

Texarkana Texas Police Department

Officer Karey Parker has worked for the Texarkana Texas Police Department since March 2010. Before that, he was a police officer in New Orleans for almost five years. “I wanted to become a police officer to help restore the relationship between the police and the community. While some in the community seem to think that it’s a ‘us against them’ mentality, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Officer Parker says. “We are all working together to make our community the best that it can be. There is only ‘us.’”

Because Officer Parker serves as a Neighborhood Area Coordinator, he’s not typically dedicated to working a patrol beat like most other officers. That added time and flexibility allows him to engage the community on a deeper level and think outside the box on ways that law enforcement can better serve their citizens. “I work directly with other city departments and community organizations (such as code enforcement, city manager’s office, Texarkana Homeless Coalition, and several neighborhood associations) to find more long-term solutions to citizens’ problems. I also do presentations for school-age kids that cover a wide range of safety topics and introduce them to the police as helpers in the community,” Officer Parker says. “Unfortunately, kids get a distorted view of police officers based upon what they see on television and in movies. I just want to be sure that they know that police officers are their friends and they can come to us when they have a problem. In addition to all of that, I also conduct background investigations for police and dispatcher applicants.”

The most rewarding part of the job for Officer Parker is earning the community’s trust and respect. “I feel good when people specifically call and want to speak to me because they know that I care and will do my best to help them solve whatever problems they’re facing at that moment,” Officer Parker says. “As far as the most challenging part of the job for me, it would have to be arresting the same people for committing the same crime over and over. I try to talk and motivate them to do better, and in some instances, they listen and many thank me later.”

When Officer Parker thinks about the mentors and officers who have taught him the most about law enforcement, he can’t limit it to just one person. He says it has been a group effort on the part of many people here in Texarkana and New Orleans. “I’ve learned from my instructors at the academies and my co-workers. I also credit the citizens that I meet on a daily basis with having taught me a lot about how to do my job better. I’ve learned how to better talk to people in different situations, whether it be a crisis or just a casual conversation,” Officer Parker says. “I believe that I am a better innovator, motivator, and creator today than before entering law enforcement because of these unique relationships that I’ve developed over the years. My job as a police officer has taught me to be a patient listener who gets all the facts before jumping to conclusions. I pride myself in being able to get my point across in stressful situations without being disrespectful or angry.”  

Officer Parker’s motivation every day is to be able to go home to his family at the end of the shift. He has been married for 27 years to his wife, Yolanda. They met while working at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in New Orleans. “I saw her walking in the hallway one day and surprised myself when I suddenly just asked her out. She said, “Yes,” and we’re still together 30 years later. She’s a very lucky lady!” Officer Parker says. “We’ve got two grown sons: Karey Jr. lives in Arlington, Texas, and works for American Airlines. Keenan just graduated from Louisiana Tech and has now started his new job as an architect in Dallas. We’re very proud of their personal and professional accomplishments. My family has supported me through all the highs and lows of my career. They’ve been the rock in my life, and I can’t imagine where I’d be today without them.”

In ten years, Officer Parker hopes to retire and have the chance to continue to travel the world with Yolanda. The couple really enjoys experiencing new places, cultures, and people, and their favorite vacation spot is Hawaii. “Yolanda and I have even talked about moving there at some point if we get the opportunity,” Officer Parker says. “Also, we hope to be grandparents and have the chance to spend time with them. I’m looking forward to taking them fishing with me when they get a little bit older, like my father did me and my six siblings. I still smile when I think about us all loading up together in the station wagon with my parents and going fishing, even if we didn’t like fishing or didn’t want to go.”

Regarding the future, Officer Parker would like to see some positive changes in Texarkana. While it’s been a great place to raise his family, Officer Parker would like to see Texarkana invest in more activities for the youth, especially in the summer months. “We typically see an increase in crime during this time, and I think that organized activities for the young people would do a lot to help slow some of that down. I’d love to see us develop some pocket parks on some of the city owned vacant properties in neighborhoods around town. This would give kids a safe place to go have some fun and provide places for older kids to play basketball or other activities that will help keep them out of trouble,” Officer Parker says. “I also think that summer internships or apprenticeships for young people at local businesses would be a great way to teach them valuable skills that they can use later in life. We also need to continue to work toward attracting businesses to our community to boost the economy.”

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