“I will be a better police officer at this age than I was at 21,” said Wendi Blaha, a graduate of the Butler Tech Basic Police Academy. At 51, she is returning to a career in law enforcement and has already distinguished herself by receiving the Sgt. Brian Dulle Memorial Award.
Law Enforcement as a Calling
Wendi’s passion for police work dates back to when she was just 16 years old. She took a job with a local police department near her hometown of San Diego, California, and put herself through the police academy when she turned 21.
She worked full time as a police officer until she started a family and life brought her to Ohio. While raising two sons, she worked as a child abuse investigator. With her sons now grown and serving in the military, Wendi felt the calling to return to police work.
This time, however, Wendi feels she will be an even better police officer because of the life experience she brings to the role. “My love for learning about how people live, where they come from and what makes them unique are the reasons being a police officer is a good fit for me. I don’t think one can be a police officer and not enjoy people,” shared Wendi.
Choosing Butler Tech
Wendi says she was drawn to the Butler Tech Basic Police Academy because of the extensive training offered and scheduling that fit into her life. Day and evening programs are both available at the Butler Tech Public Safety Education Complex in Liberty Township. Cadets also have access to an on-site fitness center, an indoor firing range, and a five-acre driving pad for emergency vehicle operations.
Wendi was also impressed by the instructors, many of whom are active police officers. “Each one of them was passionate and enthusiastic about their specific areas. All had valuable life lessons learned from a history in law enforcement that they shared with us,” Wendi said.
Wendi also says she developed long-lasting relationships with her fellow cadets. “My academy mates have truly become family, and I am forever grateful to have them in my life.”
A Distinguished Cadet
On graduation night, Wendi received the Sgt. Brian Dulle Memorial Award. Sgt. Dulle was a Butler Tech graduate killed in the line of duty while serving with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. His family awards a scholarship in his name to a distinguished cadet in each graduating class. Wendi says being chosen was an honor.
“It is my sincere desire to serve every single day with honor and integrity. I hope that my legacy will be one that can live up to Sgt. Dulle’s, in that I will have made a positive impact on those around me.”
Shortly before graduation, Wendi was sworn in as an auxiliary officer in the village of Harveysburg, Ohio. While still seeking a full-time position, Wendi is looking forward to making a positive impact. “I believe in my capabilities to make small changes with each person. Everyone wants to be respected. We all need to be valued, and I can convey that to every person I meet because I believe in it, no matter the circumstances.”
Supporting Future Law Enforcement Professionals
The Dulle family will hold its annual Sergeant Brian Dulle Annual 5K Walk on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. The walk starts at the Warren County Sheriff’s office at 8:22 a.m., in recognition of Brian’s badge number, 822. The walk ends at Lebanon Cemetery, where Brian was laid to rest.
Proceeds of the walk go to the Brian Dulle Memorial Award, a scholarship that goes to outstanding cadets like Wendi. You can learn more about the event and register by visiting Dulle822.com.