Wichita Falls Justice of the Peace Mike Little was recently re-elected to his sixth term as a judge, but before that he served as a police officer, according to an interview he gave me today, Monday, March 24 at the Wichita County Courthouse. Little encountered several dangerous situations as a police officer before he decided to run for judge the first time in 1995.
Little recalled one of his closest calls as a Wichita Falls Police Department officer occuring when he stopped a "tall guy on a traffic stop on Eastside Drive in Wichita Falls." The judge remembered today that the man had "obviously been drinking and as I kept trying to pat him down on the tailgate of his El Camino, he was unwilling to co-operate."
The judge said the man kept telling him all he wanted to do was remove his wallet from his back pocket so he could show Officer Little his driver's license. As Little tried to pat him down, the man kept resisting and reaching for his back pocket. As they wrestled, the man reached his wallet and pulled it out.
"He had a small handgun in his wallet. It was a wallet pistol," Little said as he sat in his office.
When the man pulled the gun on him, Little felt he had no choice but to take stronger measures. He said he was able to disarm the man by kneeing him twice. Backup arrived and fortunately Little was not shot.
"Sometimes the most routine situations can turn into dangerous ones for police officers," the justice of the peace further said.
Little recalled another close call occurred for him when he responded to a call on North Scott Avenue in Wichita Falls regarding a man with a gun. Little said, "He was one of the biggest people I have ever seen. At the time we didn't know it, but he'd been on cocaine for five or six days so he wasn't feeling any pain."
"I tried to get him in a headlock to restrain him, but then he stood up, and I was like a chain bracelet hanging from him. His hands were so big we could barely click handcuffs around his wrists," Little remembered.
The judge said, "He squeezed my neck so hard I was fixing to pass out at one point during the struggle. I pulled my gun because I knew he was strong enough to strangle me to death. I was about to pull the trigger when I saw his eyes looked like someone had poured sand in them. Two other officers, I think one of them was Kisinger grabbed him, and he released me."
He further said, "I'm glad they did because otherwise I would've had to shoot him to save my life. I thought if I shoot him his heart will blow up. That's where my gun was pointed."
Little said he always dreamed of being in law enforcement even as a child. He entered the Air Force as a security police officer and by age 18 was working with the most dangerous weapons in the world. They were ground-based missiles directed at the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. He was stationed at the air force base in Grand Fork, North Dakota.
"That place was not the end of the world, but it was close to it," he said, laughing.
The missiles were housed in huge silos and Little recalled it required four men to input secret codes before the missiles could be launched which would probably start World War III. He remembered looking down 60-90 feet into the ground and seeing the huge missiles with the initials U.S. and MERV emblazoned across them. The missiles had three nuclear warheads on them.
The 1974 Wichita Falls Hirschi High School graduate said, "I was dealing with the biggest killing machine ever at age 18."
Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Little's famly moved to San Francisco where they lived briefly. They were moving to a new home in Monroe, La. when the U-Haul broke down in Wichita Falls. He attended Sam Houston Elementary, Harrell and later Hirschi.
Little said, "Being a cop will always be a part of me. But I have never regretted moving from WFPD to JP. I've been so blessed in life. I've always been able to do what I wanted to do from the Air Force to the police to JP."
Little has been a leader by starting the DARE program, the TEEN Court program and heading up the Crime Prevention Division of the Wichita Falls Police Department.
He said he is proud of sons Rob and Cameron. Rob earned his Ph.D. and now teaches at Tarrant County College while Cameron works as a recruiter for the U.S. Marines. Cameron served in both Iran and Afghanistan.
The citizens of Wichita Falls are fortunate the Little family's U-Haul broke down in Wichita Falls. Judge Little is truly one of the outstanding law enforcement servants in the history of this North Texas city of 105,000.
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