FARMINGTON (ABC4 News) – A Utah law enforcement officer is dedicated to keeping people out of jail.
As a Tracker for the Davis County Attorney’s Drug Court program, Agent Tim Cottrell supervises former addicts, making sure they’re staying off drugs and out of trouble.
“They’re not bad people,” Agent Cottrell told Behind the Badge. “They just have addictions are controlling what they do and how they act.”
Former addicts and graduates of the program like Joanna Arbogast, Tyson Steed, and Chelsey Sill say that “Tracker Tim” is why they’re clean, sober, and employed after years of drug abuse and imprisonment.
“Tim helped me figure out that I have self-worth and I’m a good man,” Steed said. “He just helped me find who I was really.”
“I think Drug Court is successful here because of Tim,” Arbogast said. “He answers phone calls and texts like any hours of the night, you know making sure that you’re O.K…I think he’s such a good officer because he’s such a good man and that comes across in the way that he treats everybody…There were several times that I got violations and he had to come arrest me but he always treated me like a person.”
“My whole thing is I just try to treat everyone with respect,” Agent Cottrell said. “How I’d want myself or someone that I love treated.”
This soft-spoken, plain-clothed officer has dealt with convicted felons his entire career. Before joining the Drug Court program two years ago, he spent 12 years chasing fugitives with Adult, Probation, and Parole.
“We had a lot of foot pursuits. We had people crashing into our car,” Agent Cottrell said. “Had someone go into a closet once that wouldn’t show us his hands.”
But good luck trying to outrun Tim…he’s an elite runner who started training nine years ago.
“Ran my first half-marathon and really enjoyed it,” he said. “So I decided I’ll just try for a full marathon.”
Now he’s completed 12 marathons with a top time of just over three hours and 14 minutes…and like Tim, the former addicts who he works with say they’re in it for the long run. I asked them where they would be today without him.
“There’s a place in Draper called the State Prison,” Steed replied. “If not the Federal Prison or dead, for sure.”
“Dead or in prison,” Sill answered. “This program definitely saved my life and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Tim.”
“They’re the ones that do all the work,” Agent Cottrell said. “You know I help ’em maybe occasionally with some advice or whatever but it’s really rewarding to see people who have changed their lives…get back to what they doin’ what they want to do and in society instead of just being in and out of jail and in and out of prison and knowing that you had a small piece of that, help ’em, it’s very rewarding. You know it’s why I do this.”
As for running, most marathons have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic but Agent Cottrell is still out there on the roads and trails six days a week trying to shave off a few minutes from his time for when they hopefully resume in 2021.