A law enforcement veteran with 22 years under her belt, Teresa Phelps is currently a sheriff’s deputy for the Bell County Sheriff’s Office. She’s also the owner of Texas Elegance Nail Spa in Harker Heights, Texas, and a natural nail specialist.
A law enforcement veteran with 22 years under her belt, Teresa Phelps is currently a sheriff’s deputy for the Bell County Sheriff’s Office. She’s also the owner of Texas Elegance Nail Spa in Harker Heights, Texas, and a natural nail specialist. Assigned to patrol, Phelps’ duties are vast — from dealing with loose livestock to civil issues such as child custody issues all the way to homicide. “I am a county patrol officer and perform the same functions as a city police officer; however, my area is manned by just myself,” she says. “One person manages about 400 square miles and the nearest backup could be 20 minutes out, so this job takes a backbone and caution. Waiting for backup most times is not an option. Good communication skills and the ability to foresee when communication no longer is an option are key to survival.”
The rewards, says Phelps, are great. “Lying down at night, I know I did the best I could for people. Sometimes that is calling a pastor for a family struck with a death; sometimes it’s talking to that teenager who thinks for a minute he knows something, but finds out he doesn’t. It’s about showing them that people don’t have to rub their noses into mistakes but that as human beings they have room to re-think things and do the right thing.”
Most rewarding was going to court to be a part of a team that was a voice for a toddler who was killed by the babysitter. “Knowing that my testimony made the jurors understand that the child was killed and had not accidentally fallen from a crib was the best so far,” she says. “Second was supporting our military for perimeter safety at Ft. Hood when the massacre occurred. I enjoy team work under the worst conditions. It makes people put aside their daily entitlements and pull together. For a minute, everyone is just a person — no attitudes or airs.”