First Responder Hero Award: Sgt. Evie West

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A young Southern California gang member leaves behind a life of crime, and becomes a valuable law enforcement officer.

It sounds like a movie plot.

But in a nutshell, that describes the life of Sgt. Evie West, of the Cleveland, Tennessee police department.

We hear some more of that story as we name her our First Responder of the month.

Today you might find Sgt. Evie West handing media requests, or speaking to a civic group or dealing one on one with young people in trouble.

Seldom do you find a law enforcement officer with so many valuable skills and so willing to stop everything to help someone.

And, yes, you heard right…she survived a brutal initiation into a brutal gang, and got pregnant at 16.

She was shipped off to Lee University in the 1990’s and told by her parents to change her life.

“I experienced so much love and acceptance at that school and in this community, that that was one of the things that thrust me forward in rededicating my life and changing, the transformation. And so I studied missions at Lee and that’s what I wanted to do.”

Officially Sgt. West is in charge of community relations.

But in her 18 years on the force she’s handled just about every job on the Cleveland police force starting as an officer on the beat.

She spends much of her time telling anyone who will listen how she changed her life.

“I made a decision to abort my child when I was 19 years old, walked into a pregnancy resource center and learned about what abortion was, and changed my mind, chose life for my child, and placed him for adoption. That was one of the most difficult things that I could have done.”

Chief Mark Gibson says “The relationships that are being built, through our community relations unit, and through the work of Sgt. West are critical to future events that we may have.”

Sgt. West is much in demand as a guest speaker.

She’s frequently on the road…and she wrote a brook.

“Over the course of one year, on every Saturday morning from 10 to 12 I sat down with a lady named Wendy Brown, and I shared my story with her. And, it was very therapeutic for me.”

You may run into Sgt. Evie West as she spreads her story of love, caring and service to one and all.

For an exceptional contribution, we are pleased to name Sgt. Evie Lastra West as our First Responder of the month.

JAMES WETTERMARK IN: “At Wettermark Keith, we are so proud of this month’s First Responder’s winner. But we are also proud of the hundreds of other first responders who are out there working, every day and every night to protect us and our families.”


Categories: Cleveland, Featured, First Responder Award, Local News