Columbia, SC (WSAV) – The South Carolina Highway Patrol takes pride in promoting its best and brightest.
And last week turned out to be a first-of-its -kind promotion in the department.
South Carolina State Trooper Captain Tara Laffin is working her way up the ranks. And as she climbs the ladder, she’s making history.
For people who point to passion as their driving force, there’s often that defining moment that sparked the feeling.
For Laffin, it was in standstill traffic during a trip home from college as she watched a helpless family moments after they were in a collision.
“The trooper was holding the child,” Laffin said. And from that day on I said I wanted to wear this uniform. I wanted to help people who couldn’t help themselves,” she added.
Laffin started as a trooper for Dillon County back in 1994.
Now- 2017- she’s making South Carolina history as the first ever female commander. Her new position puts her as head of the training division.
“I was certified in everything from driving, firearms, field sobriety tests,” she said. “I’m a master instructor for the state, I’m a certified public manager through South Carolina. So it was more of an earned honor. The whole thing with ‘the first female’ just so happened to be,” Laffin said.
While she’s always been a minority in the department, she believes her choice of work made her better at her other passion- being a mom.
“I could do things after hours or before hours and sometimes during it. There were a lot of things I was able to do that other people who were working a 9-5 could not,” she said.
And her role as a mother, she thinks, makes her a better trooper on the road.
“I have empathy for people and understand their struggles and what they’re trying to do. Also, as a mom I want people to drive safe because I see the other side of it.”
Laffin’s son is now following in her footsteps in attending Lander University. As far as his career path, he hasn’t ruled out Law Enforcement.