He's got his fishing pole ready

Published 12:11 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2004

By BY LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
It isn't often that there is such a big crowd of law enforcement employees in one place as gathered March 31, 2004 to help one of their own retire. Don Grant, the Alcohol Beverage Control agent for Escambia County, has decided to spend more time with a fishing pole in his hands. He has been with the board since 1994 when he moved from the sheriff's department to take on yet another position in law enforcement which has been a driving force for most of his life.
He spent his first year in Demopolis and then was able to come back to Brewton to work the rest of the time. His has been an exciting career and at times even dangerous.
The ABC Board is in charge of licensing the sellers of tobacco and alcohol and the enforcement of the laws pertaining to both, in addition to participating in the enforcement of all other laws.
It's surprising how many get around these laws, by getting older friends to buy, using fake identity cards or even finding a clerk who will drop the rules. This can be a serious problem but there are ways to deal with it. The board uses regular teens to test the systems. They send teens into places of business for the purpose of testing the business to see if they are following the rules. Clerks are held responsible for checking identifications and making sure that the buyer is of legal age. If they break the rules, charges made be brought against the clerk and the business.
The ABC Board works with other law enforcement departments whenever they are needed. Sometimes they are called in by the drug task force, but only if they are requested.
Grant was born in Columbus, Go. while the family was living there during the construction of Fort Benning. His father was one of the carpenters working on the construction.
The family moved to Pensacola when he was about two years old. He attended Pensacola public schools and graduated from Pensacola High School in 1959. He considers himself an average student and he played trumpet in the band. During these years, his father owned a cabinet shop in Pensacola and Grant worked with him.
About a year after he graduated, he joined the U.S. Army and was sent to France to work in a military police unit.
In 1962 he came home to the cabinet shop and then worked for about four years at Monsanto in the development center. During that time he was married to Gloria Hall, the daughter of Alma Hall who is one of Brewton's local artists.
Grant left Monsanto and worked for the railroad for a short time but still wanted to be in law enforcement. He went to work with the Escambia County, Fla. Sheriff's Department and after about two years, he became a highway patrolman with the state of Florida.
It was while he was working in Pensacola that he had a couple of experiences that he was willing to share.
A rather alarming event was the source of his other story and it could have ended so differently.
He had decided by this time that he should get some more education if he wanted advancement. He worked and attended Pensacola Junior College and then graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in criminal justice.
He left the highway patrol and went to work as an investigator for a law firm.
Being Chief Deputy meant that he was supervisor at the jail and was second in command standing in for Sheriff Hawsey. He stayed there until he made the move to the ABC Board in 1994 and that move had a lot to do with salary and benefits. His love for law enforcement has been an inspiration for several other family members. He has a nephew who is with the Pensacola Police Department and his son-in-law, Chuck McMullen is well known in the Escambia County Sheriff's Department here in Brewton.
Retirement looks like a good thing right now for Grant. He says he is ready.
But don't expect him to step completely away from law enforcement. He is already talking about doing some investigation work for local attorneys. In the meantime he will spend lots of time with his daughters, Tina, who is married to J.B. Brazil and Tammy, who is married to Chuck McMullen.

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