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Community Spotlight: Hitting the streets with a trooper
By RACHEL BRANT
Washington State Patrol Trooper Krista Hedstrom always knew she wanted to be a police officer. She met a state trooper when she was 8 years old and her mind was made up.
Hedstrom has been a WSP trooper for almost six years and works out of District 8, Kitsap County headquartered in Bremerton.
We recently caught up with Hedstrom and chatted about her job and what she does when shes not protecting and serving Kitsap County.
Question: What is your favorite part of Silverdale?
Answer: I like that everything is right in one area. You get everything done at once without driving really far.
Q: Why did you decide to become a police officer?
A: When I was 8 years old I was picking flowers on the side of the road for my mom on Mothers Day and I got a ride home from a trooper. He gave me a teddy bear and ever since then Ive just always wanted to be a trooper. I took some college courses and did some ride-alongs, but that was what started my interest.
Q: Why did you choose WSP instead of another police agency?
A: I liked the image of the state patrol. I liked the reputation state patrol has with the public and that was something I wanted to be a part of.
Q: What do you like the most about your job? The least?
A: The most, its hard to narrow it down to one thing. I like everything about it. I like that everyday is something different, something new. Just the interaction with people, whether its positive or negative, I like the interaction. The least, I think my least favorite thing is seeing some of the things we see and just knowing those things happen. Drug users, collisions its just hard knowing things like that happen to people.
Q: Family, kids?
A: I have a husband named Joe and hes a Kitsap County Sheriffs deputy. I also have a son, he just turned 15 months and hes into everything. We also have two dogs.
Q: Do you and your husband talk police business at home?
A: We try really hard not to talk about our jobs at home. Its difficult, but we try.
Q: Do you have a favorite hobby?
A: I like water skiing, snowmobiling, camping, scrapbooking and just hanging out with my family.
Q: Do you face more hurdles being a woman in a mainly male profession?
A: No, in my experience I never really faced any hurdles. Theres definite benefits to it. Its easier for us to talk to people sometimes, especially children, maybe its the mother thing. I think its all just how you talk to people. Theres guys out there who are great at talking to people and some women who arent. It really depends on how you approach the situation.
Q: Are you certified/trained to do any particular tasks?
A: Im a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). When we arrest impaired drivers, a lot of times they are impaired by alcohol, but also drugs. We run them through evaluations, check vital signs, complete field sobriety tests and interview them. At the end of the evaluation we make a call as to what that person is under the influence of. We have around five or six DREs from state patrol in Kitsap County.
Q: Why did you decide to become a DRE?
A: I wanted to do it because I arrest a lot of DUIs and sometimes we wouldnt have a lot of DREs available and I thought itd be easier if I became one. I mainly just wanted to have another DRE out here. Its kind of interesting to put those things together and figure out whats going on.
Q: What did the training to become a DRE involve?
A: Theres an application process and once youre selected for the program you go through a two-week course at the academy and do field training in Seattle where we do evaluations on drug-impaired people.
Q: What has been the worst accident youve seen?
A: I dont know if I can say one is worse then the other because its hard any time someone is seriously injured or killed. Dealing with the family members, you know nobody should have to go through that.
Q: How do you cope with seeing/dealing with things like that?
A: I dont know how you cope with it. You just have to be thankful for what you have everyday.
Q: What was the most difficult thing to deal with at the police academy in Shelton?
A: Its hard. The training is difficult. Its hard training and being away from your home is hard.
Q: What is one thing you want to try in your lifetime?
A: Skydive. I just think it would be fun. My husband doesnt think its such a great idea.
Q: What is your favorite police officer/detective TV show or movie?
A: I really dont have a lot of time to watch TV. I get in about an hour of TV a week and its the first five minutes of the news at night.
Q: Whats the biggest problem facing drivers on our roads today?
A: The biggest problems drunk drivers, aggressive drivers.
Q: What improvements are needed most on our local highways?
A: I think the Department of Transportation has done a good job keeping up with our roads.
Q: What one person made the biggest impression on your life?
A: Id say probably my mom. My moms kind of always been there for me from the beginning and always said I could do this and to not let anybody tell me I couldnt.
Q: What is the most memorable thing for you so far about being a WSP trooper?
A: I guess if I quit my job today and looked back on it Id say the teamwork, the camaraderie that we (troopers) have. Its fun. We have good teamwork, everybody looks out for one another.