The gray-haired, green-eyed officer works at his own pace and doesn't let a missing limb stop him from serving and protecting. Jade has been on the Lumberton police force for 12 years, and Police Chief Danny Sullins said his skills are invaluable. "He's real smart," Sullins said of the department's feline mascot. "When I come in every morning -- I'm a creature of habit -- I'll walk through that door and he'll have jumped up in the chair and he'll slap me for attention as I'm walking by."
Jade is showing signs of his age, Sullins told The Beaumont Enterprise (http://bit.ly/XUiwvR). What used to be a quick bounce from the floor to the top of a desk might now require two tries. A soft heart -- and maybe one of his nine lives -- saved Jade from being euthanized as a kitten after he arrived to the department.
Now he proudly perches in the main lobby, watching as visitors enter the building. Sometimes, Jade curls up in a new box brought in by one of the officers or finds a comfortable lap to lie in hoping for a belly rub.
Sullins said the cat serves a vital role in helping those who are hurting. Residents will sometimes come in angry or upset about something that has occurred, and Jade will promptly jump to the rescue. Jade has a way of calming people, Sullins said.
"He's been a good ambassador for us," he said.
Jade has maintained his svelte figure, despite eating when he desires and convincing the department's officers to give him treats, Sullins said.
"If I bring a Subway sandwich in, he knows I'll feed him a little lunch meat," he said.
Like many children, Jade knows how to throw a temper tantrum. Once he acted out with his teeth, biting Justice of the Peace Butch Cummings.
"They've since made up," Sullins said, with a laugh.
Jade, who was named by the son of Sullins' assistant, Linda Hunter, has a soft spot for Capt. Forrest Cobb and Lt. Joseph Breaux Jr., Sullins said.
The officers have gone out of their way to make the department a home for Jade.
As an example, the blinds covering one of the windows in Sullins' office have a square hole cut out at the perfect height for Jade to look outside.
But the officers have to keep a watchful eye on the curious cat or he'll poke up through a ceiling tile into the attic.
Sullins said they know when Jade slips off because he comes back covered in insulation.
"That's probably why he lost that leg, because he's so nosy," Sullins said.
It didn't take officers nearly as long to get used to Jade.
Jade was brought into the department 12 years ago with a seriously injured right front leg by a woman asking if the department could euthanize him.
Former Chief Norman Reynolds ended up agreeing to take the kitten from the woman, but couldn't have him put down.
"Instead, he took Jade to the vet, got him cleaned up and he's lived here ever since," Sullins said. "He's a pretty cool cat."
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