Joey Lemley was one of many kids who grew up with the superhero dream of being able to help others through their career. For Lemley, that was becoming a police officer.
Born in Colorado Springs, Lemley moved to Buena Vista at 3 and grew up in the small town.
“I loved growing up out here,” he says. “It’s awesome to be a little kid, and you and your dad can jump in the truck and go fishing and it’s only 2 minutes away, or you go camping and it’s 20 minutes away. You can do anything you want, go hiking all day. It’s a great place to grow up, a great community.”
Lemley’s father worked as a mechanic, and Lemley picked up on that work at a young age. When he got older, he began a 10-year career as a mechanic, spending some of that time in Colorado Springs before moving back.
He also spent some time working for the Department of Corrections.
“It really wasn’t for me; I didn’t like being stuck inside,” he says. “Those guys have a challenging job, though, I’m not trying to downplay them at all. It takes a special person to be able to do that kind of work. I like to be out amongst the people, walking around, driving through town.”
His last 2 years as a mechanic were spent for the Town & Country dealerships in Salida. After that, he decided it was time to pursue his dream job. He went to the police academy in August, then joined the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy by December of last year.
“I like helping out the community,” he says. “I like being in the community I grew up in. I know a lot of the people around here and I know the area, so that’s been a big help.
“A lot of times people will call in and say they want extra patrols, like let’s say on County Road 350. I’ll go out there and cover that road a lot, make sure people aren’t going too fast up and down.
“I try to hit the different neighborhoods in the county just to show people we’re out there and deter criminals from being out there,” he said. “If there are any calls, I go out there and handle them, but I try and do traffic and things like that.”
As a deputy, his job demands a lot of him, not just in staying physically fit but also constantly studying the law and being aware of its changes, and working odd hours.
Lemley doesn’t mind the demands, especially when he gets to help others.
“Sometimes as a cop, you don’t always get to help people the way they want you to help them, but in the long run you are helping them, keeping them away from bad situations even if that means you’re taking them to jail,” he says.
Lemley also enjoys visits to schools, seeing the kids, visiting with them and seeing how excited they get over their police guests. He has even taken part in the active shooter training in the schools, and he especially liked how that training was executed.
“A guy like me, who’s very new, I knew exactly, when I got there, what I needed to do because they trained us so well,” he says. “I was really impressed with how well they did that.”
Outside of his job, he serves as the chapter president of the local motorcycle club, Iron Legacy, which works to help out the community in various ways. Last fall, they held a large motorcycle ride to raise money for Jade Porter, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The club raised over $2,300 for her cause.
“I’m really passionate about it because I want the average person to see that just because a guy’s riding motorcycles and has patches doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy,” Lemley says. “They care a lot about the community and the things going on.”
“My motorcycle club’s really big into veterans and law enforcement, helping out the community. In December, we bought a bunch of toys for a family that couldn’t afford Christmas presents. Things like that, we like to help out around the community.”