For those of you around the world who have been watching the murder trial of Zachariah Anderson, you may have seen a familiar face. Deputy Brooks of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department was assigned as trial security for Anderson. Many times, folks have seen him and other deputies on CourtTV.
We’ve been at the trial and learned a little bit about Deputy Brooks and we thought his story was intriguing. We wanted to share his story with you.
How old are you?
37 Years old
Are you married? Kids? Ages?
Married with three children, all under 4 years old
Where did you grow up?
Raised in Racine, have lived in Racine and Kenosha my whole life. Father was a truck driver and disabled veteran, I’m a first generation college student and put myself through Carthage by scholarships and working three jobs
When younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up being raised by a veteran and coming from a long line of veterans, I wanted to potentially join the military. But a serious back injury precluded me from serving. I gave serious thought to becoming a police officer or a history teacher due to a love of history. I had two great teachers in high school that inspired me to become a teacher.
What grades did you teach?
I taught middle school social studies in Racine for six years and high school history for four years ranging from intro freshmen courses to AP courses. I was also a cross country and track and field coach at the middle school and high school level.
What were your biggest challenges as a teacher?
Teaching is a very stressful job in general. Teachers have a lot of students all with individual needs and individual abilities all mixed together and it’s the teacher’s job to bring out the best in each. There is also a large workload that requires work outside of school hours for which you are not financially compensated.
What did you like most about your job as a teacher?
Like most. I liked the “aha” moments you get with students when they finally get something they have been struggling with. I liked being able to tell the “story” of history which is often more interesting and unbelievable than any movie. I enjoyed teaching philosophy to my AP students and seeing them challenge their own point of view and develop a greater understanding of themselves. I also liked coaching because I could interact with students outside of the classroom and get to know them and mentor them more.
What sparked the career change from teacher to Sheriff’s Deputy?
I always entertained the idea of becoming a police officer so it was not a huge surprise to my family when I made the career change. I have always seen myself as a public service type of person and believe that one of the responsibilities of anyone living in a community is to give back in some way. I taught school for ten years and was ready for a change professionally, and being a police officer was the only alternative I had in mind. I chose the sheriff’s department because of the wide range of responsibilities deputies have and the opportunity to see many aspects of the law enforcement career. At the sheriff’s department deputies are encouraged to complete our own investigations that other departments would offload to a detective which I enjoy.
I pull public records often and see that you are an active deputy. Can you explain?
I have been assigned to our department’s busiest area for the bulk of my time on patrol which keeps me busy. In addition to that those of us on the sheriff’s department take our role in protecting the community serious so I’m always out and about looking for traffic violations, suspicious activity, road hazards or citizens who need assistance.
What assignments have you had so far the the Sheriff’s Department?
I have been on first and second shift patrol primarily within the Village of Somers which is the busier area that the sheriff’s department patrols.
What is your current assignment?
I am currently assigned to the prisoner conveyance division at the sheriff’s department – which we all rotate through at some point. I am currently attached to the Anderson trial as courtroom security.
Have you ever pulled over a former student? Did he/she get a ticket or a warning?
I have pulled over several former students so far. I typically give out more warnings than tickets, often people just need violations explained in order to prevent future problems. I’ve written a couple tickets to former students but as with most people there have been more warnings than tickets
What is your favorite part of being a Police Officer?
I enjoy interacting with the wide variety of people who live in the kenosha area. I also enjoying seeing and being a part of experiences that the average citizen does not see. Everyday as a deputy can bring an adventure which keeps the job exciting.
What experience and training as a teacher helps you in your new role?
Being a Deputy is a lot like being a teacher, you are trying to educate people on why something they might have done is improper and getting them to follow directions. The majority of the job is talking with people and helping them understand things, so my teaching experience has helped. I was also trained as a school counselor which has aided me when helping victims and family members during moments of crisis.
What hobbies and other activities do you like when you are off duty?
My hobbies include reading, long distance running and playing with my kids.