Police Sgt. Scott Jenkins was slightly amused when a co-worker, in an email exchange, suggested “that I was a dinosaur and it was time for me to move on.”
Jenkins said he had already made plans to retire from the Fort Worth Police Department in September, “so my wife and I discussed it and we decided to embrace that idea and have some fun with it in the last few weeks of my career.”
They purchased a foot-tall, plastic Tyrannosaurus rex and enlisted him as Jenkins’ prehistoric partner.
He goes by Jenks the Dinosaur and sports a miniature Fort Worth police badge, gun, radio, baton, sergeant stripes — and a Godzilla-like attitude.
The dinosaur rides on top of his gear bag in the passenger seat next to the mace can.
“Fortunately his arms aren’t that long, so he can't do much damage,” said Jenkins, 60.
Where Jenkins goes, Jenks follows.
Jenkins said he knew at age 16 that he wanted to be a cop.
As a newspaper carrier he kept the odd hours that allowed him to hangout at convenience stores after midnight. He got to know the area police officers and ride with them until his newspapers were delivered in the wee hours, developing a yearning to “chase bad guys.”
“You've got to love the chase, the hunt, the being out on the streets,” Jenkins said.
He worked as a police cadet, directing traffic and writing tickets to help pay for college. After serving in the Army and working as a jailer, he was accepted to the Fort Worth police academy in 1978. He worked in patrol until his inner urban cowboy convinced him to try his hand at playing steel guitar in a band for a few years.
He eventually came back to the department, went to the academy again and rejoined patrol in 1986.
Since then he has worked in a variety of positions, including the original Weed and Seed (his favorite), SWAT, Zero Tolerance, narcotics, vice and detective units. He'll end his police career as a patrol sergeant for the Central Division evening shift working with young officers who are learning the ropes.
The main difference he sees between his generation and the “Y Generation” officers is the technology they grew up with. He he is amazed by the new officers’ ability to master all things digital, but said they sometimes struggles with face-to-face communication.
As a training exercise, he said he sometimes makes new officers go up to someone on the street “and ask them how they're doing — which will shock them — strike up a conversation with them and make it a two-way conversation and find out everything you can about them.”
“It's good for you to learn how to meet people on the street and communicate with them,” Jenkins said. “We've lost that.”
Jenks isn’t much on communication, but still accompanies Jenkins wherever he goes. He’s popular with other officers and first-responders, but Jenkins also introduces Jenks to bystanders, telling them the “dinosaur rides with the dinosaur.”
Between calls he visits his favorite dispatchers and fellow officers in other Fort Worth units, providing Jenks with photo opportunities on bicycles, motorcycles, horses and helicopters.
Fittingly, Jenkins and his wife, Donise, post the pictures on the “Jenks the Dinosaur” Facebook page.