Karissa Rivera has thought about being in law enforcement since she was 10 years old when a D.A.R.E officer visited her 5th-grade class in Las Vegas. She still has his picture on her desk.

“What made me keep the picture was I would work toward that goal one day of being an officer,” she said.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, where Rivera had been a civilian employee, knew only two things about the picture; that the officer in it is from back in Las Vegas and Rivera wouldn’t stop talking about him. So the next step took a little bit of detective work. Rivera was being sworn in as a deputy sheriff, and the office wanted to make it special.

“It came up in my mind, this is a great story, maybe I can contact Las Vegas,” said Corporal Bryan Subbio of the Sheriff’s Office.

It took two weeks to track down retired Sergeant William Stockdale, who admittedly, doesn’t remember Karissa as a young girl.

“(There were) about 35 in her classroom, 120 in the school, and 7,000 that I taught,” said Stockdale, but he says when he got the call, “I told my wife we are going. No matter what it cost.”

At her swearing-in, Rivera had no idea Stockdale was in the room.

“I tried to look away from her so she wouldn’t recognize me, but know psychology, she wasn’t expecting me at all,” he said.

But when the sheriff called her up, she immediately knew what was going on.

“I felt like my jaw dropped to the ground because I was so surprised because I would recognize him just like that,” Rivera said.

Stockdale said he often wondered if the D.A.R.E program meant anything to anyone.

“But a story like this? I saved one. It was well worth it,” he said.

It’s a question he’ll never have to ask again.

From 6abc WPVI-TV Philadelphia, PA

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Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.