The legacy of Deputy Curtis Bartlett

By Travis Yates (published in Law Officer on March 11, 2017)

The tragic death of Carroll County (VA) Sheriff’s Office Deputy Curtis Bartlett during a police pursuit Thursday night has rocked the profession. We have heard from many in our audience of what a difference that Curtis made in their life.

Indeed, while just 32 years old, the Army veteran that had served in Iraq had already been a K9 officer, SRO and was pushing fitness to a new level in his area.

One mother of a young boy with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Emily Brown, said that even though Bartlett was serving in Iraq he shaved his head in support of her son and organized a flag to be flown over the US embassy in Baghdad in her son’s honor and even brought the flag back to him as a surprise.

Ron Passmore said that he lost 100 pounds in 8 months because of Bartlett’s help and support and that is one story out of many others that this hero directly impacted.

Bartlett ran the website,  Police-Fitness.com and the very popular Facebook page, Police Fitness. In addition to the work in his community, it is through these venues that Bartlett touched thousands of lives.

The messages and tributes to this great man are too many to list here but here are a few:

I just woke to this horrible news. You were an inspiration to many of us. You Curtis will be sadly missed. Thank you. May god bless you. True hero.

Rest In Peace Curtis. You got me to make a change in my life and take responsibility for my own health and well being. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You will never be forgotten.

So upset right now in hearing of his passing. What a good man, never met him but as he appeared and well respected by many! He was an idol and an inspiration. This is terrible news. The few times I spoke to him on snapchat he has been helpful. God speed big man! Thank you for your service.

It’s hard to know what to say when any law enforcement officer dies so young and with so  much potential to come.  Bartlett’s death should remind all of us that our opportunity in this profession is a small window in time that we may never know when it will close.  We assume that it will be on our time schedule but often it is not.

Deputy Curtis Bartlett used every second of his time to impact as many people as he could.  He didn’t know when his time would end but it was obvious that when he woke up each day that he lived that day like it may be the last of his life.  He poured his energy, his time and his life into others and he served not only this nation and his community but anyone else that would let him.

In my Courageous Leadership Seminar, I often talk about our legacy and what will that look like for each of us?  It is a responsibility that we all bear and we all must work towards and if you are ever confused as to what that should look like, just look up at Deputy Curtis Bartlett and use him as your standard.

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