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Paid to ride: Side job allows Sgt. Chad Hightower to enjoy his motorcycle hobby

By Erika Pedroza | Published Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red and blue lights streak across the landscape.

However, instead of stopping one vehicle and heeding warning to the rest, the flashing lights delay most traffic to facilitate the travel of one car.

For this job, Sgt. Chad Hightower with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) swaps the ticket writer and squad car for a fluorescent vest and motorcycle.

Atop the two-wheel transport, the Boyd resident routes funerals with Fort Worth Motor Escort Services.

On the Road

ON THE ROAD - Chad Hightower of Boyd patrols county roads as a sergeant with the Wise County Sheriff's Office and rides his motorcycle up and down them when he's off duty. He has also found a way to enjoy his hobby at work with a side job routing funerals for Fort Worth Motor Escort Services. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“It gives me a chance to ride my motorcycle,” the riding enthusiast said. “With my other job, I don’t really get to ride. But this pays me to do a hobby.”

For almost 10 years, Hightower has supplemented his day job and continued his hobby by serving as a funeral escort four to five times a week.

“It could be as many as a couple of rides in one day,” he said. “The company is available six days a week. There’s a group of about 15 of us. The majority of them are from Fort Worth and Arlington.”

Although he rides as a hobby, the job isn’t laid-back or leisurely.

“It’s not a fair-weather riding job,” Hightower said. “Unless it’s sleeting and the roads are icing up, we are on the bikes.”

Since the company is based in the Metroplex, the escort rides are confined to Tarrant County.

However, Hightower and his bike make appearances in select local events.

“I participate in the Toy Run (around Christmas) and certain special events,” he said. “But the majority of my rides around here are hobby rides.”

In addition to his leisurely trips, Hightower is on county roads as a WCSO sergeant.

The Keller-born, 34-year Boyd resident began his career in law enforcement in October of 1992.

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was little,” he said. “I started working for dispatch, and in 1995 or so, I transferred to EMS (Emergency Medical Services) before going to the police academy.

“In February of 1998, I became a deputy, and in 2004, I was promoted to sergeant.”

Patrolling the streets as a law enforcement officer and riding his motorcycle as a hobby make for a lot of time “on the road.”

But that’s what Hightower likes best.

“I’ve been on the streets as an officer for 13 years. I love my job, and I love my hobby,” he said. “I love being on the streets.”

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