LIVINGSTON — Jay Wall didn’t let his disability stop him from pursuing his dream of working in law enforcement.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the police field ever since I was a little kid,” said Wall, who was born with cerebral palsy.
As he worked from his office at the Livingston Police Department one day last month, Wall smiled. “I love this job,” he said. “I’ve gotten pretty close to all of the employees here.”
Wall, 23, works for the department entering traffic tickets and other data, such as warrants, into the computer system.
His attitude is what brought his dream to fruition along with some help from Livingston Mayor Derral Jones.
“He pretty much created this job for me,” Wall said. “He needed me to catch up on some things.”
“Talk about a weight lifted off of my shoulders,” he said.
Wall, who lives in Killian and graduated from Springfield High School in 2008, has never let his disability get him down, he said.
“I’ve always had the best of friends,” Wall said, adding that others have never seen his disability as anything more that part of who he is.
“That’s just the way it’s been for 23 years and I haven’t had any complaints,” Wall said smiling.
Following high school, he couldn’t find a job.
Wall, who gets around either with his crutches or a motorized wheelchair, soon collected disability, something he says he “just didn’t like.”
“It was the only time I did fall into a little depression,” Wall admitted.
About a year and a half following graduation, Wall got a job at the 911 call center, taking calls one day a week. A permanent job for him there fell through, he said.
Six months later, Jones offered Wall a position with the Livingston Police Department, where he has now worked for three years.
“He does well,” Police Chief Randy Dufrene said. “He takes some work off of my secretary mainly by entering tickets into the computer system so my secretary can go into the computer and make a court docket. He also types warrants into the system.
“He is also responsible for typing paperwork for suspending a person driver’s license,” Dufrene said.
For Dufrene, Wall is invaluable to the department, and is someone who is easy to work with.
“He’s great in the office. He cuts up a lot,” Dufrene said. “He’s very friendly and hardly meets an enemy.”
Before landing the position at the Police Department, Wall said he never gave up hope that he would find a job somehow, somewhere.
“When things do get you down, you look at what you have” and not complain, Wall said.
“When you get thrown off the horse, you just have to get back on,” he said.
While he continues to work for the department, Wall said he is looking forward to future goals, like getting his driver’s license and attending college to get a degree in criminal justice.
His goal, he said, is to work for the FBI and catch online predators.
“I can’t go out and do a drug bust, but I can get behind a computer and try to catch these perverts, or bust and catch prostitutes,” he said.
“I want to help other people,” he said.
While he struggles to use his legs with the crutches, which he said give him more independence, and will need hand controls on his vehicle to drive, Wall said his condition won’t deteriorate.
“It’s going to stay the same,” Wall said. “It can always get a little bit better, but it will never get worse.”
Despite his challenges, Wall said he isn’t giving up on his dreams.
“You’ve got to always stay positive instead of negative because being negative will get you nowhere,” Wall said.
Wall credits his mother, Kathleen Abels; his father, Jay Wall Sr.; his grandfather, Jimmy Ouber; and his stepfather, Richie Abels, for “making me the man I am today.”