Behind the Badge: KPD officer serves in dual role for his community

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — At first glance, being a police officer and a church pastor may seem like two jobs on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, upon closer look the two could not be more alike. Just ask 4 year KPD veteran Jonathon Clabough.

“Even though one has a tie and one has a badge they still work together”, says Clabough. “I think they both correspond and work together. That we have to be able to show a level of respect and love and knowledge to those that are around us. Help them to become who they want to be and achieve in life.”

Along with his duties patrolling Knoxville’s city streets, Clabough has served as the pastor at East Avenue House of Prayer for the last seven years.

A job, he says, benefits him when out on patrol and vice-versa.

“Becoming a police officer has assisted me in my ability in how I talk to people and help them understand what’s going on as well as give advice and guidance through the spiritual aspect but through the law.” Clabough adds, “Whenever I walk into this pulpit and I put on my suit and I’m standing in front of everybody, I may be talking to someone who feels they are at the worst place in their life and my job as the pastor is to build them up so that when they walk out those doors they feel better than when they did when they came in.”

By helping, Officer Clabough will tell you it starts with listening. Another aspect of both jobs that is key when lending a helping hand.

“You wouldn’t believe the folks who come to church on Sunday and want to talk to me about something that happened in the community on the police side of things and I have to switch from pastor mode to police officer for a while.”

It also helps to be a familiar face as Clabough was raised in the South Knoxville community of Vestal making him very approachable to those who call the area home.

“I’ve been in this community for over 30 years, rolling around here ever since I was in diapers. I love this community.”

And that shows when he’s talking with people in area, whether he’s wearing a badge or a tie. He’s just another member of the community working to make it better.

“I try to be the same person in the pulpit, in the grocery store and in the police car as I am everywhere. When I put this badge on my chest doesn’t blow out. I don’t think that I am any better off than the people around me. I’m simply Jonathon and that’s who I am you know.”

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