RED SPRINGS — The sound of sirens and rush of adrenaline keep Elizabeth Locklear doing what she does best: serving others.
Locklear enjoyed a four-year stint as an Emergency Medical Technician with Med 1 Plus in Robeson County, but wanted to give more.
“It was just the adrenaline I had for going to calls,” Locklear said.
The adrenaline is what prompted her decision to enter law enforcement. Law enforcement officers are first to arrive on scene, and the 26-year-old medical worker wanted to be among them.
“I like going above and beyond to do more than some people are used to,” Locklear said of serving others.
And her eagerness to serve led her to complete Basic Law Enforcement Training at Robeson Community College in June 2019, and join the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, where she served as a sheriff’s deputy for one year before returning to Robeson County.
In July, she joined the Red Springs Police Department, where she serves as the youngest member of the 16-member police force. Locklear is one of eight patrol officers on the force.
“She’s a very hard worker, eager to learn and eager to work,” Red Springs Police Chief Brent Adkins said.
And she keeps her word, the chief said.
“What she says she’s going to do, she does it,” Adkins said.
The officer said she is “eager to help” and treats victims of crimes or emergency situations as if they were her own family members.
“I get a thrill out of helping people, whether it’s small or something huge,” Locklear said.
Responding to calls can be hectic sometimes, she said. But once she arrives on scene, her training kicks in and everything becomes like “second nature” to her.
“It’s pretty exciting because you never know what you’re going to get,” she said of each duty shift.
But the job also has its downsides, especially with the national perception of police officers becoming more negative in the wake of shootings of unarmed African American men and women, among other incidents.
“Sometimes it’s scary,” she said. “I don’t want to park somewhere where it’s open for a long period (of time).”
However, she’s not afraid to do her job and doesn’t see the negative perception as a “reason to give up.”
“I’m always watching my back,” she said.
The patrol officer acknowledges that some people are afraid of police officers, recalling a recent encounter with a 19-year-old man who was shaking in fear.
“Just trust us. That’s the biggest concern right now is trust in the community,” she said.
The officer is not out to hurt residents, but to look out for their best interests, Locklear said.
“It’s not always shoot to kill,” she said of every officer’s actions.
“I love helping out the Red Springs community,” she added.
When the officer is off duty, she can be found taking care of her grandmother in Pembroke.
And so far, she doesn’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, or attempting to move up the police ranks. Instead, she is content with her workload and plans to keep doing what she loves most.
“I’m just into doing my job, saving lives and answering the call to service,” Locklear said.