ARLINGTON — Arlington Public Safety Director Bruce Stedman admitted that he was "a little late" in presenting Detective Mike Sargent with the title of Police Department Employee of the Year for 2013.
But Stedman wanted to make sure Sargent was recognized properly, before the Arlington City Council, which delayed the presentation until July 21.
"In the five weeks that I've served as the city's public safety director, I've gotten to know these police officers better, and I've been absolutely impressed by all of them," Stedman said. "I see great things coming from them in the near future, especially since the City Council voted to give us the tools to deal with drugs and transients in our community."
Stedman then turned to Sargent specifically, giving him a ribbing for being a University of Oregon "Duck," before recognizing the number of his family members who are also in law enforcement.
Sargent moved to Washington in 2004 and was sworn into the Arlington Police Department in 2008, after graduating from the Snohomish County satellite police academy. He also obtained his associate's degree in criminal justice from Skagit Valley College's Parks and Law Enforcement Academy, where he made Phi Beta Kappa.
Sargent was selected from a pool of 61 applicants to become a recruit before attending the police academy. He brought two years of experience as a specialist in the Army, serving both as a scout and in homeland security, the latter of which included stints in the nation's capitol and then-President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"I always thought this career would satisfy my need for excitement. Nothing is routine, but everything needs to be precise. It appeals to a Type A personality," Sargent said with a laugh.
Sargent's interest in law enforcement was sparked by taking part in community efforts such as graffiti cleanups and food drives, and by feeling the need to do more for his fellow law-abiding citizens, since he often saw the ways in which they needed help handling their problems.
Stedman credited Sargent with working as a taser coordinator, dealing with registered sex offenders and even taking part in a recent murder investigation.
When he was first sworn in as an Arlington police officer, Sargent said, "You can never ask enough questions and you should never be satisfied with what you're given. By that, I mean that you always have to be willing to work harder, and you can't just accept what's shown or told to you."
Nearly six years later, Stedman described Sargent as an officer who always makes himself available to help others, and who follows through on his tasks.
"He's proactive and he gets back in touch with the community about their concerns," Stedman said.
"People like living in Arlington," Sargent said. "You see the pride of a small town, even as it's grown bigger. I want to do my part to help it maintain that small town feel."