When I went from going out with friends on Friday night to having coffee with them on Saturday mornings instead, I knew I was getting older. But being older brings new opportunities and one friend brought such an opportunity with him to coffee. Josh “Hoppy” Hopkins came to coffee one week a while back and has come since. Josh is pretty well-known for his appearance on a reality crime show the past few years. But the chance to meet the guy behind the smile and laid back demeanor is a priceless opportunity that you don’t want to pass up. I am proud to call this guy my friend. Meet Josh Hopkins.
BRIAN: Good to talk to you and thanks for doing this. Right up front, there are a lot of things we can’t talk about for legal reasons and I am good with that. Let’s start at the beginning. What was it like for you growing up?
JOSH: Growing up the main influences in my life were the people on my mom’s side of the family. I had a great time growing up even though we went through some pretty hard times. We lived in Fleetwood in Ashe County, North Carolina. It was the typical small town for a kid to grow up in. I literally grew up on the end of a dead-end road near a chicken house and some horses. I was in the right place for a boy to be. My dad left when we were pretty little and my mom remarried. I am thankful for my step dad and his influence on my life.
BRIAN: What made you want to work in law enforcement, and why did you decide to move to this area? What is so special here?
JOSH: I told my mom even when I was a very little kid that I could never work an eight to five job. I guess that worked along with me wanting to help people and it lead me to law enforcement. I have traveled everywhere in the United States from Los Angeles to New York and this place instantly felt like home to me. It is beautiful here and the people are my kind of people. I have made friends here that welcomed me in and have stood right by my side.
BRIAN: This is where you say whatever you think is appropriate. It is a matter of public record that you are charged in an officer involved shooting out of Ashe County. What do you want people to know about that?
JOSH: I can’t discuss anything about it. What I can say is I came from my old department to my new department here in Tennessee with good recommendations. I also currently have good recommendations from the new department while I am on administrative leave. The shooting in question happened in July of 2015. I was cleared immediately and continued to work in law enforcement until I was charged in September of 2016. The case is still currently going on. I am on unpaid administrative leave with no health insurance. It has made for some pretty rough times financially and mentally. This has definitely been one of the most challenging things I have ever gone through.
BRIAN: I know you and have been watching you go through some of this. How important are faith, family and friends to you right now?
JOSH: Faith is huge to me and it has only grown through this. I love to read books from people like Charles Stanley because they keep me in a positive outlook each day. During the times when this has been the hardest, miraculous things have happened that could only be God. It is like he shows me it is ok and He has got this. As for family, it ties in with God actually. My mom sends me a devotion every day and encourages me to lean on God. She and my big sister mean the world to me and keep me going a lot of times. My close friends and family have been the ones who have helped me keep a positive attitude and are always helping me however they can.
BRIAN: The only way to end this is to let you talk about what is coming next. What organizations have taken up your cause in this and how can people find out more?
JOSH: The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund has really stepped up and taken care of my legal expenses and helped me just live while I don’t have an income. Also, the Blue Blood Brotherhood has just recently taken an interest in my case and is helping as well. The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund taking my case means a lot to me because they are a panel of 8 professionals who watched the head camera footage from that night and unanimously voted that I did nothing wrong. As far as people finding out more, they can find me on Facebook under Hoppy Josh Hopkins. I want people to know there is a lot more to this story. When the time is right I will break my silence. Keep watching.