Odessan a deputy and volunteer firemanDeputy Dixon described as a go-getter

Ector County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Dixon is by most accounts a man who never dawdles — even on his days off.
When the longtime 34-year-old Odessa resident isn’t keeping a watchful eye on the mean streets of Ector County, Dixon spends his off-duty time volunteering his services as a volunteer firefighter with the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department.
Ector County Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Duesler said that to his knowledge, Dixon is probably “the only one” who dons fire protection gear during a fire call when he’s not on duty.
“He’s a good guy. He’s a go-getter,” Duesler said about Dixon, who Duesler said had expressed an interest in the past about becoming an arson investigator. “That’s his goal. I think he’s found his niche.”
Part of that niche apparently stemmed from the example Dixon’s father, John Turner, set during the days when he was a volunteer firefighter with the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department back in the early 1980s. Turner was chief of the volunteer fire department before the current chief Jimmy Ellis, took over, Dixon said.
Currently, there are 15 to 20 active members at the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department “and if they have the time they go and do the work,” Dixon said.
“We work 13 days a month,” Dixon said of his firefighting service. “I needed something to do with my free time.”
Dixon, who is originally from Abilene, moved with his family to Odessa when he was 4-years-old and he “has been here ever since,” Dixon said. Dixon has worked for the Snyder Police Department, entered in the oil field industry to make money and eventually joined the sheriff’s office where he’s been for the last four years.
“That was my whole basis for being in law enforcement was to be an arson investigator,” Dixon said. “I just got a lot of energy.”
That energy shifted in what Dixon and his colleagues do when they are on-duty as volunteer firefighters, he said.
“We do a lot of training in-house,” Dixon said. But he also told of the times he and his siblings saw how their father did his firefighting.
“We witnessed a lot of it first hand,” Dixon said. “I just enjoy doing it. I watched my dad describing the time of going inside a burning house. It inspired you to be like him.”
Recently, Dixon’s devotion to fighting fires unexpectedly meshed with his duties as an Ector County Sheriff’s deputy when he learned about a man, later identified as 47-year-old Lewis Allen Beckwith, who reportedly set fires to an Odessa-owned trash dumpster and grass fires. The fires occurred behind the 5800 block of West University Boulevard and in the 2200 and 2600 block of North Mercury Avenue, court records show.
Dixon, who was helping douse out the flames March 7, instructed the suspect to remain in the area, as the man was seen by a witness who saw him reportedly setting the fires. The suspect, Beckwith, fled the scene as a sheriff’s deputy was on his way to interview him, the sheriff’s office said.
The following day, Dixon, who was back on-duty as a sheriff’s deputy, caught up with Beckwith and he reportedly admitted during a recorded interview to setting the fires. Beckwith was not in custody at the time he was queried, but was read his Miranda rights, authorities and court records reported.
Beckwith was arrested on a warrant that accused him of arson, a second-degree felony.
“It was just one of those to be at the right place, at the right time kind of deals,” Dixon said of the episode with Beckwith. “Thankfully, it didn’t get any worse than it did.”
Dixon, who is the father of Paige, a 19-year-old Odessa High School student, a 12-year-old son, Aiden, and a 12-year-old daughter, Christina, briefly spoke of the inherent dangers in law enforcement and firefighting, and expressed how lucky he has been that he’s escaped harm’s way.
“Any situation can go south real quick,” Dixon said. “We try to be as safe as possible.”
While thinking about that notion, Dixon praised newly-promoted Odessa Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Jason Cotton for his professionalism.
“Jason Cotton is an awesome man,” Dixon said. “I wish there were more firefighters like him. That guy’s a hero to me.”
Dixon’s father, who was a volunteer firefighter for 18 years, said he “actually never thought he’d be in law enforcement.”
Calling his oldest son Sean “free spirited,” Turner said he was not surprised when he learned of his decision to also become a volunteer firefighter, especially since so many in the family pursued careers in law enforcement, fire protection, nursing or became EMTs.
“That didn’t surprise me as much as his decision to be in the sheriff’s department,” Turner said. “Sean will work himself silly to help somebody else. He has a big heart. Firefighting has been part of our family.”
Dixon is afraid his wife, Christy, would accuse him of being an “adrenaline junkie,” he joked.
“She might be right,” Dixon said with a smile. But I’m not going to tell her that.”