PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – “A man pulls out two handguns and starts shooting at people on the sidewalk. And I would say probably 100 yards from me.”
That’s Sargent Nisha King describing a dangerous shooting earlier in her career. In this week’s Behind the Badge – Don Hudson shares more about that shooting and why she loves to serve and protect.
We caught up with Sgt. King at a public works road construction meeting.
“We’ve actually had 13 incidents with transients on Bulldog.”
She was passing on stats about issues at a construction zone. It’s one part of her job as the Public Information Officer and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Provo Police Department.
Another duty – running the Provo Police social media accounts. While officers often resist the attention on Facebook and Instagram, she says she enjoys bragging about the men and women she works with.
“A lot of the things officers do – they do it out of the goodness of their heart. They’re not looking for recognition – they don’t want to be highlighted or noticed.”
In her job as PIO – that attention is tough to avoid. She is often the face of the department when Provo officers are called out. And then there are the public appearances and speaking engagements.
“I’m fortunate to have that history and have that background and have that level of confidence.” Sgt. King has been in law enforcement for 21 years – starting as a juvenile corrections officer here in Utah.
“I absolutely loved it, but it got to the point where I wanted to do more. I wanted to go out into the community and help kids avoid ending up in facilities like that.”
When she moved to Texas she began working as an officer. It was there she ran into a real life and death situation with an out of control gunman.
“A man pulls out two handguns and starts shooting at people on the sidewalk. And I would say probably 100 yards (ca. 91 m) from me. The shooter turned with his gun at me – in my patrol car. There were eight total rounds shot at me in my car.”
Fortunately, she wasn’t hit by any of those rounds. The incident made her think about her job, but she says it didn’t change her feelings about law enforcement. “This job is like the best job in the whole world.”
Seven years ago, she moved back to Utah and began working in Provo. She says the citizens and the city makes it easy to serve and protect here.
“Our community – they love us. They support us. Our mayor – Mayor Kaufusi and our city council support us as well.”
And she says coming back to Provo actually brings things full circle. You see, during the flooding here in the late 80s – when she was just 11 – is when she decided to become an officer.
“I was leaning over the sandbags and my arms were washing in the water. It sucked me in. I was pulled into the water to one of the big grates and my leg went between one of the grates, and I was stuck though. I thought I was going to die. An officer came up to me and I remember him reaching his hand down to me and saying, ‘Do you need a hand little lady?’ And he saved me. He was like my hero and from that moment on and I wanted to be a police officer.”
Now she hopes to inspire other young girls to grow up with the same dream.
“Sometimes just putting planting that seed in their head can start a whole different direction like this officer affected me.”
Sgt. King says, despite trying, she never identified that officer who helped her.
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