Prattville Investigator honored for bringing sexual predator to justice

Captain Tim Huggins, Dawn Nesbit, Investigator Ken Nesbit, Chief Alfred Wadsworth - Photo courtesy of Ken Nesbit

Prattville – Most heroes are not extraordinary people; they are everyday people just like you and I. They are admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities, but are humble in their acceptance of accolades and trophies.

One such hero is Investigator Kenneth Nesbit of the Prattville Police Department. This young man, born in Lakeland Florida to a military family, spent his younger days traveling from place to place and even spent five years in the Air Force before settling on law enforcement as a career. But, he had always wanted to help people and to make an impact in a world that sometimes be so cruel, especially to children.

On Thursday, January 14, seven law enforcement officers from the River Region attended a luncheon held in their honor at the Gateway Park Lodge in the Capital City. Alabama Crime Stoppers sponsored the event and these public servants were recognized for their work above and beyond the call of duty.

Investigator Kenneth Nesbit, Prattville Police Department, Youth Aid Division, took home the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for removing a sexual predator from the streets through diligence and persistence in interrogation techniques.

Nesbit, a Prattville police officer since 2000, states that even as early as his teens it just felt right to render assistance to those in need.

“When I was in high school, I had a job as a lifeguard and thought that was pretty awesome,” said Nesbit. “I’ve always liked to help folks.”

Years later he wanted to help a family member who had gotten involved in drugs, so he decided to fight the war on drugs by entering law enforcement.

“I did my time on patrol and motors, and after I did accident investigations for a couple of years I was placed in Narcotics,” he said. “But, then, shortly after that the Chief placed me in Youth Aid, saying that he thought I would do well there.”

Prattville Police Chief Alfred Wadsworth did indeed know what he was talking about. Nesbit received his first felony case after only one week of being on the job in Youth Aid, closed the case, and jailed the offender.

Nesbit’s second case came just two days after he closed the first one and it involved a nine-year-old victim of sexual abuse. The suspect was the mother’s cousin and during the interview, he confessed the crime to Nesbit, which is rare especially in sexual abuse cases involving a child.

“My supervisor told me not to get upset if I couldn’t get a confession because normally sex offenders do not talk. And he denied everything at first, but I could see right through him and kept on until he finally told me that he did it.”

The more they talked, the more Nesbit became aware of the distinct possibility that this was a serial predator.

“As he started to talk about it, it seemed to me like he was enjoying it so much,” said Nesbit. “And I thought, you just don’t do something like that and stop.”

The interrogation continued and the suspect affirmed just what Investigator Nesbit had guessed … the sexual abuse did not stop at one child.

“He told me that for the last six years he had victimized his three daughters, ages six to nine, and abused a family friend’s daughter. When it was all said and done, my initial report of one girl turned into seven girls … one case in Prattville and the rest in Montgomery.”

In Autauga County, the offender plead guilty was sentenced to ten years on one case of sexual abuse to a child under twelve. He is now being held in Montgomery on a $1 million bond, but faces charges there of rape, sodomy, and sexual abuse to a child under twelve.

And just like a hero, Nesbit does not take all of the credit for bringing this sexual offender to justice.

“We could not do a lot of what we do if it was not for Child Protective Services at DHR … and of course, the District Attorneys in the 19th judicial circuit,” he said. “When Child Protect interviews a victim, they have a knack of getting all sorts of information that I can then use as a tool in my investigation.”

Nesbit also has the full support of his wife, Dawn, whom he says has put up with a lot during his ten years on the force.

“Spouses of officers do have to make sacrifices and if they are not there to understand and lend support, it makes it hard for us to concentrate on work. But, my wife has been there for me … and she said if it wasn’t for you dealing with that guy, these girls still might not have gotten the justice they deserve.”

Dawn Nesbit is exactly correct. Due to her husband’s diligence and expertise in interrogation skills, a sexual predator was removed from the public and made it possible for the victims’ voices to be heard.

Other law enforcement officers honored that day and who deserve the public’s appreciation for going beyond the call of duty were Deputy Wyatt Segers, Autauga County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Jeremy Amerson, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Marcus Davis, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Officer Kirk Pelham, Millbrook Police Department, Officer Larry Mann, Wetumpka Police Department, and Corporal Rian Rider, Montgomery Police Department.

Police officers lay it on the line every day for you and me and they are some of the world’s unsung heroes. Usually working quietly behind the scenes, we never know what they have done to protect our freedoms and our lives. But, today we know that because of Investigator Kenneth Nesbit, those seven children are living in a safer world.

Article by Melissa Parker

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