Police officers aren’t always painted in the best light, but Officer Tommy Norman approaches community policing with different eyes. His policing style is unique and has made quite a buzz on social media. As of this writing, he’s garnered over 1 million Instagram followers, nearly 1 million Facebook likes, and over 21,000 Twitter followers.
How is he different? Just picture a modern-day Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show. That’s Officer Norman.
He’s earned several awards and honors for his work, including the North Little Rock Police Department Community Service award in 2014 and was named America’s Most Wanted National Police Officer of the Year in 2011.
Here are three ways he’s basically Sheriff Taylor.
He builds relationships with the locals
Everybody loves this man. Children literally come running to him when he shows up. He visits people in their homes, he makes people laugh.
Go back and re-read the last few sentences — could be Sheriff Taylor, could be Officer Norman, right?
Just scroll through his Instagram and you’ll see friendly faces and videos of Officer Norman playing with kids, including a quick shot of him jumping on a trampoline with some neighborhood kids.
Law-breakers respect him
In watching a few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, you’ll see that Andy always gets the best of criminals. Many times, the criminals end up respecting him and even co-operating to some extent. The most obvious example is Otis, the town drunk. Every weekend, Otis gets hammered and staggers into the Sheriff’s office. He grabs the keys to the jail cell, locks himself up, and hangs the keys back in their place. He then sleeps on the jail cot for the night.
This is because Otis and Andy are friends, and Otis trusts Andy. This seems to be how it is with Officer Norman. Below you’ll see him tell the story of when a murderer voluntarily gave himself up specifically to Norman.
That’s respect. That’s trust.
He’s got that Southern drawl
There’s something about the thick Southern accent accent that makes a person seem more personable and trustworthy. Sheriff Taylor had it, and Officer Norman has it.
Here are some examples of that…
You almost believe this tale of Romeo & Juliet because it’s Andy telling it:
Here’s Officer Norman playing around with the neighborhood kids:
And Fred Armisen doing Southern accents, just because.