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By Elisabeth Monaghan

One might say Daniel Southwick was destined to be in law enforcement. With police officers for parents, law enforcement was a field with which Southwick was familiar and a career in which he was interested from an early age. While Southwick grew up in the Denver metro area and attended Arvada West High School, he was drawn to Wheat Ridge. After going for a ride along with a Wheat Ridge police officer, there was no turning back.

In his teens, Southwick enrolled in the Wheat Ridge Explorer program, which is an academy designed to provide youth between the ages of 14 and 20 with basic law enforcement skills.

“I joined the Wheat Ridge Police Explorer program to gain some first-hand experience of what law enforcement was like in the metro area,” explains Southwick.

Southwick graduated from he University of Colorado and then attended the police academy. In December of 2017, Southwick graduated from the academy and is now an official officer of the law.

As a police officer Southwick is a natural.

“One thing I really enjoy about law enforcement is that every day is different,” says Southwick. “There are many types of calls and they are all different.”

Southwick enjoys getting to work with and talk to members of the community, and he enjoys helping them any way he can.

Not everyone who contemplates becoming a police officer as a child ends up pursuing the career, but Southwick is not one of those people.

Sergeant Jon Pickett is with the Wheat Ridge Police Department and was instrumental in reintroducing the Police Explorer program in Wheat Ridge. Pickett has watched Southwick grow into a law enforcement officer. When he was in high school, Southwick was one of its original recruits.

“Dan was excited about the opportunity to start his training in law enforcement,” says Picket. “He stayed with the program until he aged out of the program. It was obvious that he was serious about becoming an officer and with the opportunities that he got at Wheat Ridge, it was obvious that he was set on becoming an officer for the Wheat Ridge Police Department.

“Now that Dan is a sworn officer, he is just as dedicated, if not more so, than when he was an Explorer Scout.”

Wheat Ridge Police Chief Dan Brennan seconds Pickett’s appraisal of Southwick.

“Daniel is an example of why a Police Explorer program is so valuable to our organization,” said Brennan. “The program allows us to work with young people and provides us an opportunity to coach and mentor them towards a future career, hopefully in law enforcement.

“In Daniel’s case, he knew he wanted a career in law enforcement and has worked diligently to prepare himself for a law enforcement career. His hiring speaks to the value and importance of our Police Explorer program. We are very proud of his accomplishments!” 

Now that he has achieved his goal to be a police officer, Southwick will continue to pursue his passion for helping others. Meanwhile Wheat Ridge reaps the benefit of having one more police officer, ready to serve and protect those who make up the community.