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On the Job with Jackie Battle

When Jackie Battle began as a dispatcher with the Dougherty County Police Department, she was a “Cynthia,” not a Jackie. But since another Cynthia and a Cindy were there already, she modified her maiden name of Jackson and has been “Jackie” ever since.

Battle jokes that her life in law enforcement has been a good good one, partially because she’s never faced with what to wear each day. She may have gotten used to that during her three years of military service, including a stint in South Korea.

The Battle File

NAME: Jackie Battle

POSITION: Chief of Dougherty County Police Department.

FAMILY: Battle and her husband, Sherman, have two adult children.

EDUCATION: Dougherty County High School, Criminal Justice program, Darton State College

She can’t avoid the violence she sees so often at her job, and it sometime makes her feel a little down, she says. The upside of it all is that often she and her team can make a real difference.

She loves rhythm and blues, and a wide variety of music where “you can understand the words.” She reads mysteries and would have enjoyed working as a physical therapist.

Battle recently shared a question-and-answer session with Herald reporter Jim West.

Q. What was your first job?

A. My first full-time job was the military. It was very similar to what I’m doing now. One nice thing was not having to decide what you wear every day. That decision is already made for you.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found for keeping employees motivated?

A. That’s one of the hardest things to do, but one thing I try to do — and I hope it’s effective — is to give the employees a feeling of pride in their jobs. I want them to have a feeling of ownership, that what they do makes a difference in the output and the betterment of the community. I want them to feel the pride in that.

Q. What led you to your current position?

A. I did three years in the army and then found myself looking for a job. It was a way to a way to continue to go to school. When I was offered a position with the Dougherty County Police Dept., I felt like that was something worthwhile. I’ve been here 33 years. From dispatcher, I was offered the opportunity to become a road officer. From there I’ve worked investigations, the drug unit and of course, patrol. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. I feel like I’ve taken a lot from everyone I’ve met. You see the different things they do and the way they treat people. One of the police chiefs in the city of Albany several years ago was Jack Lumpkin. He’s with Athens-Clarke County Police Department now. He would be one of the persons I would look at as a role model.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. I think that because everyone has been in a budget crunch — trying to do the best they can with what they have — we have to try to continue our jobs without losing our effectiveness. We just try to do the best we can with what we have.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?

A. Email. I think that email takes away part of the contact you have with people by phone. A lot of the time people won’t even call you anymore. So I think I’d like to see email go away.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. A computer. It’s taken away a lot of handwriting and typing — the dinosaur type things we had to do. With a computer it’s easy now to go in and do a report, especially if you have a format and you just plug things into it. That’s been one of the best things.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Just to have family get-togethers. We always get together around the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July. That would be my favorite tradition.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. I do love to read, though I haven’t had much time recently. I like to read mysteries. It takes you away from everyday life and lets you relax.

Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I don’t have much of a daily routine. I’m not a morning person. I can get up, but I work so many late hours in law enforcement. When I do get up I don’t want to see food at all for a while.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?

A. I think that I would like to meet the current president. I’d like to meet any president, because what they do is unique. They have the responsibility of a whole nation that they carry around daily. I like to see how that affects them.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I do like to read and spend time with my grandkids. And I like to fish.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. Contact with people. Talking with and assisting people.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. There are always crimes, and the worst thing is to see the victims of those crimes and how they’ve been affected. It can be depressing sometimes. The upside of that, though, is that sometimes we can say or do something that will make them feel just a little bit better.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. I’ve been taking a course in public speaking, and I believe that’s been the most beneficial for me.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I would like to do something in the medical field, and believe being a physical therapist would be something I’d like to do. I like jobs where I’m helping people, but it gives me some self-satisfaction also.

Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…

A. Staying busy doing something. I’d like to do some part-time work somewhere and also some volunteer work.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. I think having the ability to listen to others and also being able to have two-way communications with those you’re listening to.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. Rhythm and blues are a favorite, and music where you can understand the words. When I was stationed in Korea, they played all different kinds of music around the clock so I got to where I liked a lot of different kinds. I never have liked rap, though.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. Maybe more retail businesses that will come in. I think that will go along with the economic recovery.

Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?

A. I really don’t have a vacation. I’m not high on vacations, but my idea of a good one is staying inside in the winter time and not having to go outside to do anything. I’m not a cold weather person.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. The use of technology. We’re dependent on surveillance cameras for businesses, video cameras for ourselves, the Internet because it gives you instant contact with people and a lot of information. We’re trying to have mobile data terminals in all our cars. That will give us the ability to do reports and send them to the office instantly. The new tag readers are great. Technology is the big thing for us. It’s hard to get away with things anymore.