New JPD officer ready to ‘make a difference’



JASPER — Manson Poteet felt the calling.

Tuesday morning, in front of friends and family, the 29-year-old-man was sworn in as an officer with the Jasper Police Department — a moment that marked the transformation of a childhood dream into a reality.

“It was kind of a little bit emotional for me,” he said. “Just because I kind of think back to my stepfather and just think about the journey that’s led me here, and to step into this role, it really means a lot. Especially in this time.”

Poteet — who was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and whose previous experience includes five years as a physical therapist assistant in Tennessee and Texas — said the time was right for him to make the transition into law enforcement. He moved to the area in March with his wife and Jasper native, Jordan (Lindauer), and their two children, Everly, 2, and Knox, 1.

Physical therapy work allowed him to make a difference in the lives of others. He said law enforcement will allow him to “help people in a different way now.”

Poteet’s stepfather was a police officer, a connection that inspired the boy to follow in his footsteps at an early age.

“When you see guys doing the right thing, day in and day out, and to see how the public really respects those type of officers, it really just kind of makes you feel like you really make a difference in the lives of somebody you’ve never even met before.”

In an interview after Poteet’s swearing-in ceremony, Jasper Police Chief Nathan Schmitt said the newest recruit was selected, among other reasons, because of his ability to work well with others.

“When he interviewed, it was awesome to have him interviewed, just because he’s used to dealing with people and talking with people,” Schmitt said. “And that’s what this is. Everything in law enforcement, if you can communicate with people and talk to people, it just makes you a more effective officer. And I think that’s kind of what we look for.”

Poteet plans to humbly learn from department veterans and do his best. He wants to help shine a positive spotlight on police officers.

“I believe in this profession,” he said. “And I believe there are really good guys that do it. And I thought, ‘I want to be one of those guys,’ and just come in and do the job right. And just go home knowing that I did the best for our community each day.”

Poteet will undergo training at the Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Evansville in October.

Seth Eckstein, who was extended a conditional offer of employment for the force in late March, is still up for consideration for a position. Eckstein ran into issues joining the city’s Public Employees Retirement Fund program and will be considered for employment later, Schmitt explained.

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