The People Behind Dallas County: Jacob Ballard
This story is part of the Dallas County Messenger’s series showcasing the people serving Dallas County. Jacob Ballard is a Marshal in the Marshal Service / Building Security Department.
Explain your specific role at Dallas County.
I am a Dallas County Marshal whose responsibilities include protecting and serving Dallas County citizens and employees, investigating suspicious activities, apprehending criminal offenders and assisting the department as it works to achieve its goals.
Why are you passionate about your department? Who or what at Dallas County motivates you to get out of bed each day?
I started with the Dallas County Marshal Service / Building Security Department in 2017 as a security officer after honorably serving in the United States Army. I found my passion for law enforcement while working for the Dallas County Marshals. In fact, my drive to serve and achieve more was so great that I quit my position as a security officer with Dallas County, put myself through the Tarrant County College Law Enforcement Academy, graduated with honors and was hired as a Dallas County Marshal. Now, I find myself challenged every day and always try to be the best police officer that the citizens of Dallas County deserve. I truly love what I do.
“The Dallas County Marshals always strive to achieve excellence while serving the citizens of Dallas County, which is nothing less than what they deserve to expect from their partners in the law enforcement community.”Jacob Ballard, Dallas County Marshal
What would Dallas County constituents be pleasantly surprised to learn about your department or the services it provides?
The citizens of Dallas County should know that when they visit Dallas County’s buildings, they are always entering safe environments filled with dedicated employees ready to help. The Dallas County Marshals are tasked with protecting constituents from the threat of criminal activity that is present in everyday life. Constituents should also know that the Dallas County Marshals are always available to them when they are in need of assistance. The Dallas County Marshals always strive to achieve excellence while serving the citizens of Dallas County, which is nothing less than what they deserve to expect from their partners in the law enforcement community.
What do you look forward to accomplishing in the future?
Currently, the Dallas County Marshals do not sponsor aspiring cadets to attend police academies. I really wanted to be a Dallas County Marshal but was hired on by the Dallas County Marshals as a security officer. So, I saved a significant amount of money, made a lot of sacrifices and put myself through the police academy. Additionally, my family made sacrifices to help me accomplish my goal of becoming a Dallas County Marshal. I could not have done it without them. While attending, I was the only cadet that was not hired by a police department. Everyone wanted me to fail or felt that because I wasn’t being sponsored that I didn’t deserve to be there. Despite this setback, I persevered and worked hard every day. While my fellow cadets were out on lunch breaks having fun and socializing, I stayed at the police academy, ate a bland sandwich and studied my course material. I eventually graduated with honors and was blessed to have the Dallas County Marshals hire me back as a marshal. I am very thankful that my department hired me back as a marshal. Even while in training at the police academy, the department’s senior staff and my former colleagues called to check up on me and ask about my progress. Their support gave me something to look forward to.
Now, I look forward to continuing my service to the citizens of Dallas County and progressing in my career. I am always looking for new ways to help my department achieve its goals, and I am fortunate to have a command staff that is open to new ideas from all levels of organization within the department. I have a lot to learn, but I hope that I will gradually promote from within my department, as I love its mission and the people I work for and with.
What’s an example of a creative solution your department deployed to improve a Dallas County process or help a Dallas County constituent?
The Dallas County Marshals have, for a while now, been working with our law enforcement partners in the West End Historic District of Dallas to monitor and reduce criminal activity in the area and keep areas high in tourist traffic safe. When I first began working for the Dallas County Marshal Service / Building Security Department, historic attractions such as Founders Plaza, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza and the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture were all places at which Dallas County citizens and tourists could enjoy Dallas County’s rich history with the knowledge that they are safe. However, in 2019 these places became littered with trash were riddled with crime. Thanks to the cooperation of our partners in the law enforcement community and the hard work and dedication of Dallas County’s officers, the public may again feel safe and secure while visiting these historic places.
What is your favorite part of working for Dallas County?
I love that I get to work in such a diverse community. In any city, especially in Dallas, there are so many people that come from so many different walks of life. I was a country boy, so every minor thing that happened in my hometown was breaking news. That got old after a while.
Here in Dallas County, we have a rich and diverse community. When I am on patrol, I make a point to get out of my squad car, walk around and just talk to people. Anybody really. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they look like. I feel that it is important for the community to see a person instead of a uniform, and making that personal connection with local citizens makes me a better marshal and helps me develop as a person. It is people that make life worth living.
This conversation is edited for clarity.