Pine Bluff Police Sgt. Donald Griffin, who became the youngest Sergeant in the department has a big day Saturday when he puts his other career in full view.
In addition to being a police officer, Griffin is also a professional fighter and will headline the card at the Pine Bluff Convention Center for an event that will mix amateur fights in the afternoon and professional bouts at night.
“I’ve been thinking about this every day while training,” Griffin said. “I can’t wait.”
With a record of seven wins and one defeat, Griffin will be facing Star Johnson from Houston, Texas in the main event.
The Gloves Not Guns Boxing Club, which when Griffin started fighting was the Pine Bluff Boxing Club and Coach Albert Brewer are sponsoring the series of matches.
When he’s not working, Griffin can frequently be found at the Merrill Center, working with the younger kids who are just learning to fight, and he said one thing that doesn’t come up is the fact that he is a police officer.
“I grew up in the area (of 9th and Ash where the Merrill Center is located) and I didn’t like the police,” Griffin said, adding that he didn’t know that Deputy Police Chief Kelvin Hadley who is one of his biggest supporters, was a police officer when the two first met.
“My son does martial arts, and I’m into combat fighting,” Hadley said. “I’m also an avid boxer and when I saw him and how very competitive he was it reminded me of my son.”
Griffin has worked for the police department since 2013 and during his time on the job, has also received a degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
“I work at night and train in the daytime but when I was still in school it was tough and something had to give and that was fighting,” Griffin said. “No that I’ve graduated it’s a lot easier.”
Hadley said he recognized the potential Griffin has, and also recognized that he could be an asset to the department at department sponsored events like the annual P.A.Y. (Police and Youth) Camp.
“Here was this young, African American male that was having success and I wanted to market that,” Hadley said. “I wanted to show a positive side and how his interactions with youth could make a difference. When I was growing up I didn’t like the police either but that’s a cultural thing and I wanted to break that mold.”
Talking about going back to school and getting his degree, Griffin said it was a difficult decision but he wanted to have something he could fall back on if he got hurt and wasn’t able to fight.
“The Lord has blessed me and I was able to get the BA,” Griffin said.
He plans to continue both fighting and being a police officer and said in a couple of years, “I hope to be fighting for the world’s championship.”
Griffin said he hopes there will be a big crowd for the Saturday event. “If we see a good turnout that could lead to even bigger and better shows.”
He also said he wanted to thank all of the people who have supported him, particularly members of the department.
“We take care of our own,” Griffin said.