By Jason A. Smith
The No. 2 man at the Hampton Police Department has a new title to add to his list of accolades, and to further his career.
Police Lt. Derrick Austin was promoted to the rank of Captain. The upward move was approved by the Hampton City Council on Nov. 2, upon a recommendation from Chief Rad Porter.
The promotion became effective Nov. 3.
Austin has worked in the law-enforcement arena for 17 years. He said he got his calling while attending classes at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga.
"I was in college and had to decide on a major," said Austin, 40. "I chose criminal justice, and kind of went from there."
He was employed with the Henry County Police Department, and the Locust Grove Police Department, before coming to Hampton in 1993. Along the way, Austin also completed supervisory classes and management classes, at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Ga.
The captain currently oversees the Hampton Police Department's Uniform Patrol Division, as well as its internal-affairs investigations, and a Neighborhood Watch program for the department.
When asked why he enjoys working in Hampton, Austin pointed to its people.
"I just enjoy the small-town atmosphere, and getting to know the citizens," he said.
Austin added that he enjoys being a police officer because it enables him "to help people and try to make a difference." He said he has plans for Hampton Police, which will hopefully benefit his co-workers.
"I'm working on trying to obtain more state and federal grants for the department," Austin said.
Chief Porter described Austin as an asset to the police department, and said the captain has had the respect of his fellow officers in Hampton for a number of years.
"In this profession, you don't demand respect, you earn it," said Porter. "He's earned it. He helps me to help the department."