SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) Like fellow officers she serves and protects. However, West Jordan Police Sergeant Holly Lang also serves and supports.
Recently a West Jordan police officer shared a very personal letter with me. He writes, “What Sgt. Lang does for her fellow officers is every bit heroic as running into a burning building and pulling another person to safety.” “With complete certainty, I can tell you that Sgt. Lang saved my life.” Sgt. Holly Lang is the Peer Support Coordinator at for the West Jordan Police, and while it is her job to watch over the officers – she does much more than that.
Most days you can find Sgt. Lang checking in on her school resource officers. “My job is to manage the SROs that we have in West Jordan and the schools we have in West Jordan.” The six officers cover the elementary, middle and high schools. And Sgt Lang and those officers are very involved with the students in the classroom and through programs like the Police Athletic League. It started with about 25 kids and has grown to close to 200 kids. (see: http://www.facebook.com/Westjordanpal/ ) “Its been great to get to know the community – some of the kids in the community.” Being part of the community has always been part of her life and why she wanted to be an officer. “I just decided one day I wanted to be in law enforcement.” At the time she was a single mother with three kids. “I went and applied at all these places – and couldn’t get on because I didn’t have any POST experience.” It took a while to get hired. But once she was signed on – she says it was game on. “You get to see some crazy stuff and you get to drive fast. You get to have a lot of experiences that I didn’t have prior to that. It’s fun.”
Since becoming an officer 17 years ago Sgt. Lang has been a patrol officer. She was involved in Crisis Intervention and a Drug Recognition Expert. She was the K9 unit supervisor and part of major crimes for six years. “I worked sex crimes, homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults.” Sgt. Lang told me eventually the job started to take its toll on her. “Were just normal humans too. We have all the same things everyone else has. So when we go to a hard call we get in our car and we go to the next one and the next one. And its not til you go home and try to decompress and say wow – that was a stressful day.” She sought out help to deal with that stress. “It was hard for me – I had a hard time and had to go and seek help myself.” She says it shouldn’t be embarrassing for anyone – officer or civilian – to get help. “These officers go through so much and we see so much. And we’re just expected to stuff it down and be OK with it. And it’s hard.” And we need help – just like anybody else we need help.”
And now as the Peer Support Coordinator at West Jordan PD, she uses her experiences to help fellow officers. “I can relate what people are now experiencing and stuff that I see I went through – I can see others going through.” “I feel that is why I was made to be in law enforcement to help out first responders.”
Sgt. Lang is also involved in youth programs at schools in West Jordan, like the “Be the Change” project, which inspires students to reach out to other students and “Eat with the Heat.” By the way, Sgt Lang’s husband is a retired officer, her son became a police officer about a year ago and her brother is also an officer. If you want to check out any “Behind the Badge” stories or nominate someone for a future story – go to: http://good4utah.com/badge