Those who keep us safe: Warren County Deputy T’onna Sims

Those who keep us safe: Warren County Deputy T’onna Sims

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Warren County Deputy T’onna Sims isn’t your ordinary law enforcement officer. A former basketball enthusiast who played through her high school years, Sims took a detour from the courts to the corridors of justice, driven by a desire to serve and protect her community.

It begins one way, and then…

Deputy Sims began her journey at a young age. A natural athlete, Sims excelled on the courts and played basketball from junior high through her high school years at Warren Central.

“If you go into the gym, there’s a picture on the wall where we won the Little Six Championship,” Sims said of Warren Central Junior High.

Sims went on to note that her team also made it to the second round of the playoffs in her senior year. Still, even before then, she knew that the life of a professional athlete was not going to be in her future. However, Sims had a plan.

“I think as I got older, once I got to 11th grade, once I really realized salaries for women’s basketball, I realized that wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Sims recalled. “So, what I did was, I used my athletic ability to put myself through college.”

Her decision paved the way to pay for her education and a degree in general studies. She then started pondering about her “Plan B”.

Answering the call

The scanners echoing police communications, videos of on-duty officers and a noticeable gap in female representation in the force fueled her interest. For Sims, it wasn’t just about wearing the badge but also about breaking stereotypes. In 2022, Sims officially joined the ranks of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

“You don’t have a lot of females that’s into the job,” Sims began. “With this job, you have a lot of males that will tell a female ‘That’s not a woman’s job’, and I want to show women, young girls, teenagers, anything that you want to do, you can do it.”

Interaction with the community is paramount for Sims, especially the younger members. Kids, she noted, are incredibly curious about her role and the tools of her trade, from badges to gun belts. Sims views these interactions as invaluable opportunities to forge positive connections and inspire the next generation.

This curiosity helped change her perspective to not only think of her job as a crime fighter but to also be present and part of the community, especially for the youth.

Sims went on to state that parents who say things such as “they are going to take you to jail” when referring to law enforcement, only foster their resentment and unwillingness to approach them later. Her hope is to change that perspective by being involved.

It takes a village

The essence of her message is clear: dedication, hard work, and being proactive are essential ingredients to achieving one’s dreams. And for the community she serves, her advice is centered on unity.

“It takes a village to raise a child. The youth need to know there’s more to life than just guns, fights, gangs. You can go to school, you go get a trade, you can go do something to set yourself up for the future and to set your kids up for the future,” Sims stated. “It’s going to have to start with the community, not just one. Not just one parent, it’s going to be the whole community.”

Sims feels that being a positive role model is the shoes she needs to wear to show that anything is achievable.

“I try to be a role model, myself. Not a hero, but ROLE MODEL,” Sims expressed. Sims went on to state that as the oldest of seven, and the only one so far to get through college, she feels she is serving to set the example and show those around her that, “whatever you want to do, you can do it.”

A strong support system

Sims acknowledges that her support system within the Warren County Sheriff’s Office has helped shape her into who she is today and who she will become. She offered thanks to some of those who have helped her and continue to aid her on a daily basis.

“I do want to say thank you to (then) Captain Tabatha Crawford. She helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for her, I would not be in the position I am today,” Sims began. “I also want to think Martin Pace and my co-workers.”

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace echoed Sims’ commitment to the residents of Warren County.

“We’re proud to have T’onna serving with the Warren Couty Sheriff’s Office. She’s proven to be a dedicated and professional officer that loves her community,” said Pace. “She loves Vicksburg and Warren County. She loves her community.”

Sage advice from Warren County Deputy T’onna Sims

For those wishing to follow their dreams, Deputy Sims offers some sage advice.

“Listen to your parents,” Sims began. “And if you want to play sports or anything you want to [do], you’re going to have to sacrifice parties, you’re going to have to sacrifice going out with friends, you’re going to have to work at it. If you’re not putting the work in, it’s not going to come to you.”