Sunday, July 29, 2012
On Hatteberg's People, being a police detective and a cheerleading coach may sound like they don't go together, but they do for Valley Center Detective Jay Grayson. His work behind the scenes has him making friends in ways you might not expect.
"Having a good bond and relationship with the community makes my job a lot easier," said Grayson.
Grayson, in many ways, isn't your normal view of a detective.
"Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a trash man. That's what I wanted to do," he said.
That didn't happen, although he did try it. Going to high school in Tulsa, Grayson played football. Then, during college in Wichita, he became interested in the art of cheerleading. He also worked at the Wichita State University Police Department.
For the last five years, Grayson has been a detective in Valley Center. Police Chief Mark Hephner, Grayson's boss, says he's not only good at catching criminals - he's also become a great example of positive community policing.
"Really what makes a big impact in the community is outreach. He meets the people and helps the people in the community," said Hephner.
"I'm just a people person. My grandmother was like that, she always helped others, and that's just the way I was raised. I don't look at it as community policing. I look at it as helping other people," said Grayson.
His special gift is working with young people as a cheerleading coach. It's not often you put the words 'detective' and 'cheerleading' in the same sentence, but for Grayson, the two are inseparable.
"I figure cheerleading is one of the hardest sports. I played football and I cheered and I got more injuries cheerleading than I did in football," he said. "I feel at home here. These kids are like my family. I don't look at it as a job at all. I enjoy working with the staff. I coached all the staff here so we are like a big family ourselves.
Grayson says he's not the only police officer with a passion for cheerleading.
"You would be surprised at how many officers were cheerleaders. Wichita police officers - I know several of those guys I coached. Now they wouldn't tell anybody, but a lot of those police officers used to be cheerleaders," said Grayson.
So from his work as a police detective, to community outreach at places like Valley Center's Sunflower Gardens, and his surprising work as a cheerleading coach, Grayson continues melding his police work and community service as one.
"I enjoy my job, but I don't look at the time. I enjoy being at work, I enjoy being at home with my family and I enjoy being here," he said. "And when I see them graduate and go to college and become somebody - that's my reward."