Sheriff's Deputy 'Humanizes The Badge' With Art

Sep 22, 2015

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil is quick to brag on Deputy Tony Lipps and other members of the department who use their talents to de-stress.

"The message today (Tuesday) is in short, we're humanizing the badge but we're also letting other people in general understand that it is positive to have outlets," Neil said while taking the media on a tour of Lipps' newly rented Mt. Auburn art studio.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

Deputy Lipps says he always tells people he fell into police work after majoring in fine arts. "I don't mean it as a bad thing because I always compare it to a happy accident because I enjoy what I do."

Painting helps Lipps get his mind off the difficult patrol days.  There are similarities in police work and art. He says when it comes to police work, "You don't do it to catch the bad guy all the time, you always do it to help people."

In art he is helping people too. When Deputy Roger Hinkel, a helicopter pilot, got sick with cancer, Lipps painted a picture to be auctioned. After Hinkel's death, Lipps drew a picture of him that now hangs in the Sheriff's headquarters. He did the same for Deputy Nick Hoevel who died of a heart attack. "I don't have a million dollars to donate to people, but I have my talent."

Lipps' studio is filled with sports pictures he's painted. He is putting the finishing touches on Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert. Also displayed is a painting of Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman. His "Charlie Hustle" painting sold during the All-Star Game for thousands of dollars. "I wasn't exactly expecting to sell that. I put it at $3,000 so nobody would buy it, but it didn't work out. I mean it worked in my favor still!"

Sheriff Neil said Lipps is one of many talented members of the department. Possibly selling himself short, Neil said his de-stresser is cutting grass.