After eight years in the U.S. Air Force, Steve Thomas has started patrolling the local streets as a patrol officer for the River Falls Police Department.

Thomas, who grew up in Hartford near Milwaukee, finished his probationary period in March.

The 1998 Kewaskum High School graduate said that he joined the Air Force right after high school. During his time as a mechanic for the Air Force he was stationed in Montana, California and Texas.

Thomas said much like the military where you are serving your country, in law enforcement you are serving your community -- in this case, River Falls.

A career in law enforcement is something Thomas always thought was a possibility.

“I always looked at law enforcement as a possible career…it always intrigued me,” said Thomas

He said after graduating from Chippewa Valley Technical College with an associate’s degree in 2012 and participating in the RFPD police reserve program for three years, his interest in law enforcement was revived.

“I really enjoyed the police and community for three years…it really rekindled my interest,” said Thomas.

Thomas said his favorite part of law enforcement is interacting with the community.

“Whether it‘s a call for help or a disturbance call, I enjoy finding a solution that helps,” he said.

Thomas, who works the afternoon or night shift, said he really likes afternoons. He said that shift allows him to get out and talk to citizens, particularly youth.

Thomas said that the hardest situation for him is anything that involves a domestic.

“You don’t know what you are walking into,” he said. “No call is the same.”

Thomas lives in Hudson with wife, Tammy; three-year old son, Mark; and four-month old daughter, Taylor.

For the complete story, please see the May 15 print edition of the River Falls Journal.