Officer says future of community is in the hands of the children
"That's why it is so important for everybody to be involved with their upbringing. Their family, teachers, the police and everyone they come in contact with is going to be an influence. It is our responsibility to make sure we are a good influence, " Sullivan said.
Sullivan is a self-professed "late bloomer." He joined the Jamestown police force in July of this year. However, he has been a life-long youth advocate. He has coached high school soccer for more than 13 years. He says he is a New England sports fanatic and is happy to help get kids involved with sports and other wholesome activities whenever possible.
Sullivan felt proud when Ryan Westmoreland, one of the kids on his soccer team signed a $2 million contract with the Red Sox. "I feel proud, because I know that I had a good influence on that young man's life," Sullivan said. "And he went on to do great things."
"My fellow officers feel the same way. They recognize how important it is to establish a good relationship with children so they have a good impression of the police. We don't want them to be afraid of us," he said. "We want them to be glad to see us." If children feel comfortable with officers when they are young, that will last a lifetime, Sullivan said. "When they are older, they won't hesitate to go to the police when they should."
Sullivan comes from a family of police officers. His father was a lieutenant with the Newport Police Department before he passed away and his brother is lieutenant in the Portsmouth Police Department. When Sullivan was sworn in, his brother pinned his badge on his uniform at Town Hall.
Before he went to the police academy, Sullivan was a bartender. "I owned Keegan's Pub, a bar and restaurant in Swansea, Mass.," Sullivan said. He is presently selling the business. He decided to quit because he didn't want his daughter to be brought up in an alcohol-related environment.
"My five-year-old daughter, Keegan, is life's greatest joy to me and my wife, Kim," Sullivan said. He also said that his job as a police officer sets a good example, and that is most important to him.
Born in Newport, Sullivan grew up in the Fifth Ward. "The Irish section," he said. He graduated from Portsmouth High School and then attended Salve Regina University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
He still coaches soccer and spends his off duty hours with his family. "I used to play poker. I was in the World Poker tournament twice. But I don't do that anymore," he said. "Right now my time is spent selling my old business, coaching soccer, watching the Red Sox, Patriots and Paw Sox when I can, and raising my daughter."
Sullivan has been married to his wife, Kim, for seven years. She is a kitchen designer in the Newport area. He lives with Kim, Keegan, and his mother in Portsmouth.
"I think I work for one of the best police departments in the country," Sullivan said. "Nobody could ask for a better group of offi cers to work with."
"When I retire, I just hope that I leave the town a better place than when I started," Sullivan said.