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Dream fullfilled: Daughter follows father onto police beat

July 05, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Sarah Faith knew by the time she was in second grade that she wanted to be a cop.

Inspired by her father, a 24-year veteran of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Faith recalled an assignment in second grade for which she and her classmates were to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up.

For the assignment, Faith drew a picture of herself as a police officer with a bloodhound.

Over time, her fascination with police work grew.

Danny Faith, a sergeant with the sheriff’s office, recalled how his daughter always wanted to go to work with him and how she was fascinated with a bloodhound he used on the job.

When Danny Faith graduated from a police academy in Frederick, Md., a picture was snapped with a 3-year-old Sarah beaming as she sat on her father’s knee.

When Sarah graduated from Clear Spring High School, she had her senior picture taken with her dad’s police dog.

Now, after years of dreaming, Sarah’s goal of becoming a police officer has come true. She recently was hired as a patrol officer for the Uvalde (Texas) Police Department.

The 25-year-old Clear Spring native attended a police academy at Southwest Texas Junior College and started working for the Uvalde Police Department on March 21. In April, when Sarah was sworn in, Danny Faith flew to Texas to pin his daughter’s badge on her uniform during a Uvalde city council meeting.

“I can’t be any more proud of her. Scared to death? Yes. I’ll never tell her that,” Danny Faith said.

Sarah Faith studied criminal justice at Washington County Technical High School for two years and at Hagerstown Community College.

She got her start in law enforcement when she was hired as a dispatcher for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. She worked at that job for about five years, then moved to Washington County’s 911 center, her father said.

With her yearning to be a police officer showing no signs of waning, Sarah began researching academies for police training.

She decided on the Middle Rio Grande Law Enforcement Academy in Uvalde because she knew some people from Maryland who went there. At the academy, she went through about 18 weeks of academic and physical training.

Police departments traditionally have had their own academies, but if departments aren’t hiring, college-based academies become an option, Danny Faith said.

A graduate of the Rio Grande Law Enforcement Academy is certified as a police officer for 180 days while he or she looks for a job, Danny Faith said.

Sarah said after she was hired at the Uvalde Police Department on March 21, she was in field training. She said she expected to start working on her own July 5.

Although proud, Danny Faith is a little nervous about his daughter’s job.

Uvalde is only about an hour north of the border with Mexico, where violent drug crimes have been prevalent. And his daughter’s training has focused on those issues, he said.

“I think about her all the time. It’s amazing the stuff she’s gotten into just in her field training,” Danny Faith said.

Sarah Faith, reached in a telephone interview from Texas, said she, too, is a “little nervous” about her job with the Uvalde Police Department, which has 37 officers.

Anyone traveling between the Mexico border and San Antonio has to go through Uvalde, she said. Recently, Uvalde Police Department officers confiscated machine guns and about 1,000 gun magazines.

At 5 feet 8 inches tall and 130 pounds, Faith said she is “not intimidating.”

To deal effectively with the public, she said she plans to rely on being courteous, which she learned from her father.

If she needs help, Faith said she won’t hesitate to turn to her fellow officers.

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