Clay County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Steve Copp not only received the Missouri Sheriff’s Association award as 2021 Deputy of the Year, but was also named the parade marshal for the 2021 Liberty Fall Festival. Copp has been with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. During that time, he has served in detention, patrol, professional standards, investigations, firearms instruction, special tactics and response team. Currently, he is supervisor of the fugitive apprehension unit. He has provided security for United States presidents, taught for the Clay County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy and earned the Life-Saving Award and Distinguished Service Medal. Copp, originally from Los Angeles, moved to the Northland in 1989. He visited the area when his mother opened a horse-boarding area and found he liked the slower pace and the “nicer” people. “A friend moved out here with me and got a job with the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I went through the academy and like the new hires, I went to detention. I have been in almost every unit with the office. I was part of the tactical team for years, and the last dozen, I have been with fugitive apprehension.” Receiving the honor to be parade marshal makes Copp a little uncomfortable. “It is obviously an incredible honor, but I don’t feel like I deserve it,” he said. “I know it’s going to be super cool to ride in the parade, waving at kids. I love the kids and I hope I can be a positive influence. I want people to see that law enforcement is positive.” Copp said he knows the sheriff’s office will most likely have vehicles in the parade. “Fall is my favorite time of the year,” he said. “When our kids were younger, we came more frequently. It’s fun to see the vendors and then to see people you may not see often. There are the smells of the food and usually a little hint of the weather changing. I love all that stuff.” He calls this honor a “cherry on the sundae” of this chapter. Copp plans to retire at the end of October. “I’m hoping that my wife Christa and my son Sean get to ride in the parade with me,” he said. “My daughter Alysa is in Oregon, so she will have to see photos later on. My son is bringing everything full circle. He is in college studying this. He wants to be a U.S. Marshal. Sean works part-time here and I have watched him grow. The guys here are his uncles.” Copp created a mentoring plan and would like to see new deputies and non-sworn employees alike mentored even more than what he has begun. “I like offering advice, helping younger staff be retained,” he said. “It’s not just about job performance, but mental health, personal growth and more. It’s about helping shape the culture and a positive environment where people need support.” As retirement approaches, Copp plans to spend some time at the family farm house in northern Missouri. “I’m a simple guy who enjoys motorcycles, fixing things and being outdoors,” he said. “If I do pursue another career, maybe I can work for a motorcycle shop and enjoy that. I have been in a role where the decisions I’ve made affected people’s lives, and they have looked to me to make these calls in a quick fashion. That has been a lot of weight on my shoulders. I think it’s time to enjoy the uncomplicated for a while.”

Sgt. Steve Copp

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