Father, son make history working together at Pooler Police Department

By Sam Bauman| January 14, 2021 at 4:18 PM EST - Updated January 14 at 4:18 PM 

POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - One of the newest officers to join the Pooler Police Department has a familiar name.

That’s because, it’s the same as his father’s, who just so happens to be a 25-year veteran of the department.

“We come from a line of public safety. My father was a Battalion Chief of Savannah Fire as I was growing up.”

So, for Lt. John Schmitt, Jr. it was never a question what he would one day do.

“I always knew I was going to be a policeman from a young age. I got into it and just stuck with it.”

Spending 25 of his 28 years in law enforcement right in Pooler.

And when he had a son of his own, John Schmitt III or John-John, it would only make sense that he’d keep up the family tradition.

“His mother did not want him to be in law enforcement,” joked Lt. Schmitt.

Despite his mother’s initial reservations. After all, it’s hard to fight genetics.

“He comes one day and says, ‘hey, I’ve been hired by the Chatham County Police Department I’m going to be a police officer as well,’” Lt. Schmitt says.

A proud moment, that perhaps could only be out done by this.

When John-John was hired by Pooler Police last month.

“We’d be the first ever father and son to work at the same time,” said Lt. Schmitt.

For John-John, it was a coming home.

“I grew up in Pooler. Not just in the city limits but at this department. I came here waiting for the school bus and it’s just something that’s always been in the back of my mind, I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” said Officer Schmitt.

Of course, it comes with some adjustments.

“When we’re at home it’s dad. When we’re at work it’s Lt. Schmitt,” Officer Schmitt said.

Although he’s been watching his dad closely since he was young, “I’ve been taking notes since I was a child.”

He won’t be trying to fill his shoes, but instead, “I’m here to set my own path and to create my own shoes.”

Working side by side, with his real-life hero.

“He’s always been my idol and I don’t know if you know quite how proud I am and happy I am I get to work with you,” said Officer Schmitt.

“I’m proud of you too,” replied Lt. Schmitt.

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Photo: WTOC

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