Ellis hopes to change lives as Probation and Parole Officer
JACKSON, Tennessee — Muscogee (Creek) citizen Sandra Ellis wants to do what she can to make a difference in other people’s lives.
She’s found a career where she’s able to do that on a daily basis as a Probation and Parole Officer, but that wasn’t always the plan.
“My intentions were to not go into law enforcement,” she said. “My degrees are in Marketing and Management.”
After completing her degrees at the University of Tennessee , she returned to Oklahoma to be closer to family but was not able to gain employment with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
“I came back to Tennessee,” Ellis said.
She’s always had a heart for helping others. There’s evidence in the career path she’s taken.
Long before becoming and employee with the state, she owned her own business that was called, ‘Separate Winds Fire Protection.’
“That job was fun,” Ellis said. “I got to work with a lot of the fire, safety and rescue people of the community.”
She said in that line of work the people do not think about themselves, they focus on how they can help others as well.
She said she was an instructor and taught auto extrication.
“The jaws of life,” Ellis said. “I was able to go into fire departments and work with them.”
She would also sell equipment that their fire departments need.
After 20 years, she felt she needed a change.
She hasn’t been a P/P officer long, starting in Oct. 2018. Before this she worked with people who were on probation with through one of the counties in the state.
She said in order to become an officer she had to go through the State of Tennessee’s protocol, which required discipline.
“It was like boot camp,” Ellis said. “You are not allowed phones or (social) media. There is a lot of physical fitness and classroom training.”
There is an element of danger, her position requires her to carry a handgun and make in-home visits, but ultimately it provides Ellis an opportunity to assist.
“We can help them with housing and we do the checks at their place to see if they are employed and help build their resume,” Ellis said. “We have to make sure that they are working and doing good things in the community.”
She tells her clients that it is better to see her once a week or once a month than to go back behind prison walls.
She also said that sometimes it’s as simple as having the right person in the right place to change someone’s life.
“All they need is one person to believe in them,” Ellis said. “A lot of the people that I work with have never had anyone show them how to be better.”
With her position now everyday is a new day for her.
“I love helping people overcome their obstacles,” Ellis said.