SPANISH FORK, UT (ABC4 UTAH) "It was a fun surprise. It was a humbling surprise, cause I know so many people the award could have went to."
That was Sargent Cole Christensen's response to being named the employee of the month in Utah County a few weeks ago. The 20 year law enforcement veteran says he was shocked by the recognition...
But as we found out in this week's Behind the Badge officer profile - the recognition appears to be well deserved.
Sgt Cole Christensen oversees a lot at the Utah County Sheriff's Department. "I'm over the K9 unit. I'm over our contract cities....I'm over the reserve program. I'm over all the equipment issues - vehicles - moving vehicles in and out. Computers. Any equipment that a deputy needs I help facilitate that."
But sitting behind a desk and overseeing - is actually a very different experience for the law enforcement veteran. "I'm learning something completely new." In fact, Christensen tells me it was the excitement and variety that attracted him to police work 20 years ago when he worked for corrections "Once I got in, man, it was just like I saw this and I got caught up and liked it." "You are not stuck doing one thing. You go from investigating a homicide to a SWAT call out that night to making a traffic stop that day."
Speaking of stops - Christensen made an arrest a few months ago while out on motorbike patrol that he says involved a very exciting and very awkward chase. "I think the guy thought he ditched everybody, but I got right up on him with the motorcycle being a little bit more agile." "He ends of bailing out of his car at the parking lot of the Thanksgiving Point golf course. And then the chase was on. As fast as I could to put my kickstand down and in great big tall boots and I got this bobble head white helmet, and I am running down as fast as I can." "The kid goes over the chain link fence and we go to go over and he gets hung up and gets stopped right there on the rail road tracks and we were able to take him into custody."
Those types of moments may not happen as often in his new office assignment. While Christensen says he is getting used to that - he is never going to get use to the violence aimed at officers these days. "It seems like everyday you are getting an email or a text or an update about a law enforcement officer who has been shot. It's sad, it really is."
But Christensen says he chooses to focus on the positive in police work and how blessed he is to work in Utah. "Utah is an awesome place to be a cop. Awesome." "We always hear about the negative things, but the citizens here in Utah County are so awesome and they are so appreciative of law enforcement."
Christensen says he is also getting use to a few other changes with his new position. "I've always been on a tactical team since I started since 1996 and 97. I've been on one team or another. And so, it was hard to leave because it is something I know really well. But at the same time you have to look back and see there are guys "that are much stronger, much faster, much quicker than I am." That's not to say he doesn't miss it.
"I still have a big passion for SWAT and tactical operations and patrol work and traffic work." But he does enjoy the 9 to 5 lifestyle that he's never had during the first 20 years on the job.
You can nominate an officer for a future story by going to: http://www.good4utah.com/badge
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