The Pughs (Buddy and Derick) and Cooks (Bobby and Dylan) have more in common than first initials.

The father-and-son pairs work for the McCracken County Sheriff's Department. The fathers got into law enforcement later in life and now serve as reserve deputies.

Their sons joined young and work as patrol deputies.

Both sons spent younger years loving the badges and the blue lights, and started riding along with their dads in their late teens.

Both duos do some car detailing on the side, and all of them attest to the value of a strong father-son bond.

"Just knowing that we can work side by side and be in law enforcement together, it's the coolest feeling ever," said Dylan Cook, 24.

His first positive impression was when his dad left plant work, and the occupational change gave them more time together.

"It was a lot better because I saw him more," the younger Cook said.

Bobby Cook, 61, who started as an auxiliary police officer 16 years ago and moved to the sheriff's department, said he's about to take over coordinating a 10-man unit of reserve deputies. And he'll have to undergo training he never had to do before.

"I'm actually going to the academy in December or January," he said with a laugh.

The elder Cook was proud his son followed in his footsteps, but said he thought Dylan's choice of law enforcement as a career had more to do with his individual desire to help than following his father's example.

"It's just in his makeup."

Whether they're working together on a traffic stop or detailing a car, the two share a strong bond, relating on personal and professional levels.

"You've got a son that you're proud of, and you've got a best friend where you can enjoy other things in life besides law enforcement," Bobby Cook said.

His son said he looks up to his dad for his consistency in whatever he's doing, be it enforcing the law or grilling burgers.

"He's always been that hero to me, and I think he always will."

The Pugh family's story, though differing in specifics, shares some of the same general outline.

Buddy Pugh had a career in car sales, and took a second job with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department when he was in his late 40s.

He attended the sheriff's academy while in his early 50s, and eventually served as chief of the Lone Oak Police Department before it dissolved. He returned to serve under former McCracken Sheriff Jon Hayden.

"I've tried to retire twice, and it didn't work, so I went back," he said.

He was serving as Lone Oak chief when his son attended the academy.

"It makes you feel like a real dad. He wants to do what I always wanted to do," the elder Pugh said, noting that his son spent time in both auto sales and in emergency services like his father.

Derick Pugh, still a toddler when his dad began working in law enforcement, recalled his younger years full of cruisers from deputies who would visit their home often.

"Just seeing it, the flashing lights of the car, the uniform. As a child, you think that's just the coolest thing ever."

The younger Pugh first served at the Paducah Police Department, but soon transferred to the sheriff's department because his father worked there.

Derick Pugh said he's proud of his father's reputation for being tough but respectful.

"He's a great man and he's had a great life, and he's really built a foundation for me."

The younger Pugh, who's married to another McCracken deputy, Lindsey Miller, said he doesn't know how much longer he'll stay in law enforcement, but whatever he does he hopes he's thought of like his dad.

"If I can leave this world and be thought of as an honest guy with integrity, that's all I care about."

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