SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) He lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for more than a decade. But today – that former refugee – is now a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper. ABC4’s Don Hudson introduces us to Trooper Daud Eftin in this weeks Behind the Badge.
Trooper Daud Eftin is one of the new guys at UHP. In fact, he’s been on the road , by himself, for less than three weeks.
(Don Hudson) “What was it about UHP that attracted you?”
(Trooper Eftin) “As far as UHP goes it’s just the eliteness.” “I always wanted to be a trooper. Actually, that was something I looked into. Being a state employee was important. I wanted the stability.”
And that desire for stability is easy to understand when Trooper Eftin talks about his early life.
“Imagine waking up in the morning not knowing what you are going to eat. Not knowing what you’re going to be drinking or what you’re going to wear.”
For more than a decade, that was his life in a refugee camp in Kenya.
“You might be walking two miles – one way – barefooted to school and do that for eight to nine years.”
His family had been pushed off their land and out of their country, Somalia, and sought refuge in Kenya. After twelve years they were eventually allowed to migrate to the United States.
“We’re on a plane knowing we’re going to someplace called America, not knowing where we’re going yet.” “Then finally we land in a place called Utah, Salt Lake, to be a place we call home away from home.”
Daud enrolled in school here and he says that is when he met a School Resource Officer who helped change his life.
“He kind of filled me in that he as a police officer gets paid to go out and help people.” “That stuck with me. That’s what I wanted to do. As a public servant, I wanted to help people. To be able to reach out to people. And give the little that I can to help make their day better.”
But becoming a law enforcement officer would take dedication, education, and citizenship.
“I ended up getting my first job in Arizona as a detention deputy.” He then went from a county job to a state job. “Worked for the State of Arizona as a correctional officer for a little bit.”
He became a U.S. Citizen in 2009. He earned a Bachelors Degree and a Master’s Degree in criminal justice. And while he says it took time to get hired, he refused to take no for an answer.
“I decided to stay dedicated and determined to do this job – I always wanted to be a public servant.” “Its my dream and I never wanted to let me dream go away.”
Eventually, the 33-year-old landed that dream job with the Utah Highway Patrol. And the kid from the Kenya refugee camp became the public servant in Salt Lake.
(Don Hudson) “What is it that you love and enjoy about police work?”
(Trooper Eftin) “Everyone is different, but for me – its just knowing I am helping you get somewhere safe.” “My job is to make sure travelers make it from point A to point B. Home safely. Wherever they’re going they just want to get there safely. If that means stopping to tell you to slow down or just reminding you to use your turn signals. Whatever I can do to make sure you get to your family safe at the end of the day that is what I what I call great. That is what I am looking for that is the satisfaction for me.”
There is no way to share Trooper Eftin’s story in two minutes. To hear more from him about life in a refugee camp and a funny story about coming to Utah and seeing snow for the first time (which he thought was salt, by the way,) check out the web extras below. And while you are here, you can check out our past stories and you can nominate someone for a future Behind the Badge story by going to https://www.abc4.com/badge.