Lowndes County Sheriff’s Lieutenant provides comfort in community

Published 2:22 am Saturday, March 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Nick Cognasi is no stranger to law enforcement and understands the work it takes to keep the community safe.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s lieutenant said that as a law enforcement officer, it is extremely important to give the community peace of mind and a sense of comfort. 

“Our position as law enforcement is so crucial to the community because of the fact that we provide public safety and assistance to members of the community,” Cognasi said. “Those things can range anywhere from someone being shot or having their home broken into, all the way down to a person experiencing a flat tire on a busy roadway and needing assistance.” 

Email newsletter signup

Cognasi serves with the Sheriff’s Office as the Patrol Division Commander. Along with coordinating all patrol efforts in the department and working with other law enforcement entities that come into the county, Cognasi writes grant applications for the department’s needs as well as working with the school resource officers (SRO) for school events to make sure Lowndes County students are always safe. 

Cognasi recalled one particular moment that made a huge impact on him as a law enforcement officer, emphasizing the importance of officers like himself. 

“I specifically remember a time when I was on training in Montgomery and when you’re training a lot of people don’t think you know a whole lot but in law enforcement you kind of learn to read people,” Cognasi said. “There was an incident where we responded to an unruly child, and we frequently had to go there because of the parent’s issues with the child. My training officer wrote her off as an unruly child but after listening to her and listening to her mother, I observed that the mother was having some mental health issues so we got the teen to another place where she could be safe while the mother got treated for her mental health. 

“I just remember her breaking down crying because every time the police came out before, they always took her mother’s side and never listened to her. She was 16 or 17 at the time and all she wanted to do was better herself. She ended up joining the AirForce later, which is something I remember vividly when I think about my position and being able to help someone that no one has helped previously.”

Cognasi started his career in law enforcement at the beginning of 2010 and worked for Montgomery’s Police Department before he joined the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in 2016.

He said he originally had not planned to become a police officer but is glad he made the decision that he did. 

“I actually went to school to be a history teacher and when I graduated college in 2009, it was kind of the height of the recession, so they weren’t really hiring teachers,” Cognasi said. “At the time, I had some friends who were police officers with the city of Montgomery who said I should give it a try, so I applied and went through the Police Academy. After my first day on the streets, I knew I didn’t want to do anything else.” 

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West said he admires the work ethic Cognasi displays and said the lieutenant is an inspiration to those who work with him. 

“He’s very down to earth,” West said. “He’s a straight shooter and a hard worker. Every assignment that I’ve ever talked to him about, he’s never complained about it even if I was thinking about moving him to another division. He always says I don’t care where you move me, just don’t mess with my money.”

West described Cognasi as an “all in” officer, someone who does his best at every assignment. 

“Wherever he is, he always gives 110%,” West said. “He’s very motivated and he’s good at inspiring the people he’s in charge of. He’s always looking for new ways that allows us to stretch our dollar within the agency and when we’re looking at implementing new programs or investments, he’s the one that looks across the country for the vendors that offer the best price and quality. Because of how giving he is, he is definitely one of the heartbeats within our agency.”