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Bangs police officer retires after 29-year career despite having one arm

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BANGS, Texas - Sgt. Michael Isbell of the Bangs Police Department did his last patrol Friday. 

He retired after 29 years in law enforcement and overcoming people who doubted whether he could succeed because of his disability. 

"It taught me you can't depend on everybody else to help you out," Isbell said. 

Isbell was born without a left arm, which was a reason he said he never thought he could be an officer.

"There were several times I had applied at agencies and I've been called for interviews. But as soon as they see the situation it's like, 'oh no,'" he said.

He said he finished third in his class from a police academy in Travis County and eventually landed a job in Burnett County. All his superiors cared about was whether he could make an arrest.

"You're labeled as he can't, he can't, he can't. What happened to what he can do," Isbell said.

Being an officer was a dream come true even if it meant doing it with one arm. 

"You gotta do what you gotta do to get done what you need to get done," he said. "And even though I did it a different way, it still got done."

At his retirement party, Isbell was presented with a a distinguished police service award from the American Police Hall of Fame.

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