On Duty with the CHP: A chosen family

CHP officer Traci Gallian, author of the On Duty CHP column.
CHP officer Traci Gallian, author of the On Duty CHP column. sflores@fresnobee.com

Vacation lets me reflect. While recently taking some time off, I looked in the mirror and asked, what am I all about? What do I stand for, and am I proud of the person I have become? One of my thoughts was about my career and specifically, the people I work with, and you, the people to whom I strive to provide the CHP mission statement, which is the highest level of safety, service and security.

While on vacation, I attended a funeral for a special woman, the wife of a CHP brother officer. I felt anguish over his loss, yet there was no question in my mind whether I would be there for him; whatever he needed.

As I sat in the back of the church, I looked over the audience and I saw a sea of CHP officers dressed in their finest formal uniforms. I felt the pride and love I always knew existed within the CHP.

As I left the church that day, I recognized that I belong to the most amazing organization around. This funeral caused me to reflect on the family that raised me, and the other, my chosen family, the California Highway Patrol.

Let me explain. The family who raised you is always your family, whether or not you are close to them. The family I chose to be a part of and who accepted me is my CHP family. I refer to my CHP family as my “chosen family.”

It does not matter what department you work for, whether you are male or female, the color of your skin, or what religion, if any, you practice. In a time of need, my chosen family stands tall, anticipates needs, takes control and helps in any way they can.

I had no way of anticipating how my life would turn out when I started at the CHP Academy in 1999. I did not think of the impact and the camaraderie I would inherit by choosing the CHP. I worked hard in the academy to learn the roles and responsibilities as an officer, and in turn, they accepted me to be a part of this elite group.

After graduating and taking my first assignment to west Los Angeles, I understood this concept even more. For just a moment, I set aside the uniform, gun and the badge and looked at the people. They were just as I saw them: a mom, dad, sister, brother, wife, husband and a friend.

We train together, work together, share family stories, our heartbreaks, achievements and our everyday lives. We make friends that last a lifetime and we continue these bonds even after retirement. Our bond and brotherhood is strong and does not waver.

Our lives in our chosen careers are unpredictable and chaotic. We never know from day to day what we may encounter, but I know the brotherhood I have chosen to be a part of will forever be my family, and together we will proudly serve you, the people of this great state of California.

A family born not from a blood line, but bonded in life by a blue one.

Author unknown

Officer Traci Gallian can be reached at tagallian@chp.ca.gov. For more from the CHP Central Division, go to the division’s Facebook page.