Rookie lawman follows in dad’s footsteps

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

AHOSKIE – When Brent Doughtie starts his new job as an Ahoskie Police Officer on Jan. 4, he’ll be following a tradition that began before he was born.

Doughtie, 24, is the son of former Ahoskie Police Officer Doug Doughtie. The elder Doughtie launched his career in law enforcement in 1977, eight years prior to the birth of his son.

“Brent is going to work where it all began for me,” said Doug, now retired from the Dare County Sheriff’s Office and living on the Outer Banks. “Ahoskie is a great place to start a career in this field. It may be a small town, but anything can happen in Ahoskie. The training I had there carried me throughout my career in law enforcement.”

That career began on Sept. 8, 1977.

“It was my 20th birthday…I was sworn in as an Ahoskie Police Officer that very day,” Doug said. “It’s not like I hadn’t been around law enforcement before that day. I was in a police car (as a “ride-along”) since I was 16. Then, during the summer months while I was in college (Elon), I was a dispatcher for the Ahoskie Police.”

Once on the force as a full-time officer, Doug Doughtie said he never went to work a single day dreading what he would face.

“Helping people is what I love to do,” he stated. “Being in law enforcement is the most rewarding career you can have. Every day is different; every day you get to help someone.”

Working under APD Chiefs Raymond Warren and Jake Willoughby, Doughtie rose to the rank of Lieutenant before leaving Ahoskie in July of 1989 to accept a job with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office. He remained there until his retirement on Sept. 1, 2006.

Doug Doughtie remains busy, currently working as an Officer and Investigator with the Duck Police Department on the Outer Banks. He has formally announced his intentions to seek the office of Dare County Sheriff during the 2010 election.

Meanwhile, his son is looking forward to launching a career in police work.

“I’m very excited about this,” Brent Doughtie said. “My dad has had a great influence on my life. He taught me so much; you don’t have enough room in your newspaper to print everything he taught me. I owe him so much for the positive impact he’s had on my life.”

The son said his link to law enforcement was simple.

“Some kids grow up with a father who is a mechanic…by the time they graduate high school they can rebuild an engine,” Brent said. “Others grow up with a father who is a farmer. By the time they graduate, they can plant and harvest a crop. By the time I graduated from high school, our supper table conversations revolved around police work. It just comes natural to me with my dad being a career law enforcement officer.”

Up until he received the oath of office in law enforcement, the younger Doughtie had tried his hand at an assortment of jobs.

After graduating from Manteo High School in 2003, Brent joined the United States Air Force. That three-year career, where he specialized in vehicle operations, took him from Lackland Air Force Base (Texas), to Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri), to Ramstein Air Base (Germany) and finally to Langley Air Force Base (Virginia).

Following his Air Force career, Brent worked a temporary job as a Community Resource Officer with the Southern Shores Police Department. He then earned his insurance license (for both North Carolina and Virginia) and worked as an insurance agent before getting into the agricultural field as a subcontractor.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that he found his true calling, enrolling in the Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Halifax Community College. He graduated from there in May and served briefly as a reserve deputy with the Gates County Sheriff’s Office before landing a job with the Ahoskie Police Department.

“I’m back at home,” said Brent who was born and raised in Ahoskie before moving to Manteo.

Ahoskie is also home for his grandparents – Rachel and Carroll Young – as well as his late grandparents – Janice and Sammy Doughtie. His mother, Ahoskie native Donna Young Pittman, now lives in Courtland, Va.

“In this job, you can’t judge a book by its cover,” Brent noted. “Some of the best folks you’ll ever meet are the ones you didn’t want to give the time of day to when you first met them. To fully appreciate who they are, you’ve got to reach out to them…get to know them; to me that’s what makes a good police officer.”

As for any words of professional advice he would pass to his son, Doug Doughtie closed with this…“Just treat people with the same respect you feel you deserve. If he’ll do that, Brent will never feel bad about the job he’s doing. Plus, this job will afford him an opportunity to make friends that will last a lifetime, whether they are police officers or those you meet on the street.”