Sgt. Steve Robinson and Chief Charles Rafford pose at the chamber banquet. | Austin Nelson
Sgt. Steve Robinson and Chief Charles Rafford pose at the chamber banquet. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

Robinson named officer of the year

Published 12:03pm Thursday, April 18, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the first of six articles highlighting those that received awards at the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

Sgt. Steve Robinson, with the Alexander City Police Department, was named Police Officer of the Year for the third time in his career.

ACPD Chief Charles Rafford said the Police Officer of the Year is nominated every year by the supervisors in the department.

“This is a well-deserved honor,” Rafford said. “Robinson is a very knowledgeable and well-respected supervisor in the department. He does an excellent job day in and day out.”

Robinson was born in Alexander City and graduated from Dadeville High School.

Robinson said he became interested in law enforcement after hearing stories from his uncle growing up. After taking some law enforcement classes at Central Alabama Community College, former ACPD Chief Lynn Royall coaxed him onto the force. He began his career in Aug. 27, 1990.

As he rose through the ranks, the opportunity to move into the detective division came up – but Robinson declined.

“He chose to stay in patrol – he loves the patrol division,” Rafford said. “He really is the epitome of a community police officer.”

Robinson said he never left patrol because that would mean leaving the part of law enforcement he enjoys the most.

“You are on the street more, and you see more people (on patrol),” Robinson said. “Instead of being cooped up in an office, I like being on the street.”

After 23 years of working the streets, Robinson said he has seen all sorts of things.

“A lot of the stuff I never would have believed I would see in this line of work,” Robinson said.

One of the worst aspects of his job, Robinson said, is being called to a scene where something has happened to a child or elderly person.

“You learn how to deal with it – it is part of it,” Robinson said.

However, he said he doesn’t let his work life interfere with his home life.

“I don’t take anything home – when I walk out that door, it stays here,” Robinson said. “When I come back, I put it back on and go to work.”

At the chamber meeting, Robinson was commended for doing the one thing no officer wants to do – use lethal force to neutralize an imminent threat. May 5, 2012 police dispatch received a call from a man that claimed he had shot his wife. Officers responded to the scene to find Charles Waid, 50, waiting in his trailer with a handgun. After repeated attempts to get Waid to surrender his weapon, Waid raised his weapon toward the officers.

Robinson discharged a single round into Waid, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Robinson said he had been in a stand-off situation before but had never had it escalate to this level. His response was deeply ingrained, he said.

“It was automatic – the training kicked in,” Robinson said. “It happened in the blink of an eye.”