A story from Chief Greg Premo, City of University Place Police.
I want to share an experience one of our officers had recently. He was on routine patrol one morning when he came across a disabled vehicle in the roadway. He stopped to see if he could help. The driver said she was trying to get her son to school.
The officer offered to drop her son off at school, but said he understood that the boy might be embarrassed if he was dropped off by a police car. But the woman assured the officer her son would love it. She explained that her son really likes police and firefighters, and one day would like to be a firefighter.
As they drove, the officer could see the boy’s face glowing with excitement. When they arrived at the school, the boy gave the officer a high-five and said he couldn’t wait to tell his friends about the special ride to school.
The officer drove mom home and then returned to his other duties. As I learned of this encounter, I was left with several emotions. First, I was very proud of the officer for taking the initiative to make contact and offer assistance. Second, I was reminded of why I gravitated towards law enforcement as a career long ago. I remember an interaction I had with a police officer when I was young that stayed with me for years. I wanted to serve my community and try to make a similar positive impact on others like that officer did for me. Finally, I felt encouraged. Amid the negative news today about police, it can be easy to forget that we serve an integral part in maintaining a safe community and interact with the public more than any other government service.
But our work isn’t always pleasant. Some of our duties are ugly and difficult. Officers don’t always encounter people who are willing to cooperate. Ours is a dangerous and difficult job at times, but we need more people to step forward and face the challenges of a career in law enforcement and remember the core reason we are here: to serve, protect and seek justice for all.
I hope you will be able to join me for our Public Safety Forum on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to learn about UPPD, public safety in U.P., and share ideas on how we can work together to make sure our community remains safe and welcoming.