Charlie Simmons carried a gun for almost three decades as a cop. He now carries a camera to shoot photos of law enforcement officers on the job, and he is in the process of photographing the Uvalde Police Department.
Simmons began taking photos while working at a Colorado sheriff’s office in 2011, after realizing he possessed few photos of himself working throughout his career. His first photos depicted his coworkers at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He soon began creating short photo montage videos, which were met with great enthusiasm by his coworkers and their families.
Now Simmons and his wife, Tricia, are journeying across the U.S. in a trailer, donating their time to telling the story of the men and women behind the badges. They have been in Texas since October with their non-profit organization, Badges Across America, which chronicles the lives of law enforcement.
According to the website, www.badgesacrossamerica.org, in 2016, his photo “Storm,” which depicts a motorcycle unit running radar after a storm, won first place in the patrol category in the National Sheriff Association’s annual photo contest, and one of his photos was used on the cover of K-9 Cops Magazine.
The website has photo galleries featuring officers during training, at special events, working in the field and officer portraits.
In addition to the photos, there are stories on the site, some funny, some poignant, of people the couple has met along their journey.
Simmons, who serves as the photographer and president of the organization, graduated from the sheriff’s academy at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Golden, Colorado, in June of 1992. He has 27 years of experience in law enforcement, working in the patrol and investigation divisions and as a sergeant for 15 years, including on the Special Operations Response Team.
They plan to be in the area approximately two months, and to work with several area agencies.
They hope to highlight officers’ resiliency and integrity, in an effort to help build trust between officers and the communities they serve.