Middle school teacher changes career after 10 years to become Puyallup Police Officer

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Puyallup Police Officer David LaSalata is just a few months into his law enforcement career but before the badge came the books.  LaSalata taught middle school and coached kids for more than 10 years.

“I think the life experience helps some but ultimately it’s learning a whole new trade, a whole new craft re-teaching yourself to see things in a whole new way than you are used to seeing them,” said Officer LaSalata. Even out on patrol, he’s still teaching lessons.

“I pulled a gal over who was a former student who was speeding and unfortunately I did have to write and infraction,” said Officer LaSalata.

He and his wife have three children. They say they are looking to other families within the police force for advice on how to make the transition work. “I know the risks that are involved in the career but we`ve been really fortunate to have the kind of support that we do so it’s kind of made it feel more comfortable I guess,” said Arielle LaSalata.

Puyallup’s Police Chief says he was impressed with the teacher from the minute he met him.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for almost 29 years and I’ve never seen anybody make that change from a very solid very good career that`s very beneficial to raising a family to a career in law enforcement which is obviously much more dangerous very disruptive to the family life so it was definitely our good fortune that Mr. Salata applied with the department,” said Chief Bryan Jeter.

For Officer LaSalata, the rewards outweigh the risks. “I’ve always believed that you are either in sales or service and I believe myself to be a servant first,” he said.