Sarah Theobald takes leadership role with police cadet class
July 03, 2017
Cuyahoga Community College police cadet Sarah Theobald is no stranger to taking on challenges and beating them.
As a senior at Cloverleaf High School in Medina County, when most of her classmates were weighing their post-graduation work and school options, Theobald opted to serve her country. She joined the U.S. Army, becoming a parachute rigger at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
After her military service, she briefly attended Michigan State University before moving back to Ohio. It was then that she decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I was drawn to public service, and I felt police work would make good use of my military background,” Theobald said. “I have an understanding of the need for discipline and how to operate in a unit where there is rank and structure.”
Theobald enrolled at Tri-C as a criminal justice student in policing (basic academy), planning to attend the College's Basic Police Academy beginning last October. However, she had to drop out soon thereafter to tend to personal matters. Undeterred, she re-enrolled in the current academy class, which began in March.
“I know it was a disappointment for her, but one thing you quickly learn is that she has tenacity,” said Jamie Tavano, commander of the Basic Police Academy. “Where others might quit, she doesn’t.”
Theobald, now 26, was determined to succeed in her second attempt. By morning formation on the second day, she was already taking responsibility not just for her own success, but the success of the entire class.
“I just stepped forward at formation, made sure the other cadets were following instructions, and from there, I gradually stepped up in other areas as well,” Theobald said. “I took charge at formation every morning, I started leading the Pledge of Allegiance and push-ups, and it just went from there.
“I try to make sure everybody has the information they need in terms of announcements and group messages. Basically, anything I can do to make the commander’s job easier.”
Her leadership efforts were recently rewarded with the KeyBank Public Safety Scholarship, awarded to qualified women and minority students enrolled in Tri-C’s public safety programs. Theobald used the money to help purchase equipment for the academy.
“It meant a lot to be awarded the scholarship, and I wanted to use it to buy necessary equipment, like flashlights, for the academy,” Theobald said. “Things that everybody can use in training.”
Following graduation from the academy in August, Theobald aims to begin her law enforcement career as a patrol officer with a local police department.
“I’m very interested in forensics,” she added. “It would take additional schooling, but I want to become a detective someday.”
For the few weeks Theobald has left at Tri-C’s Basic Police Academy, Tavano is just happy to have her in the fold.
“What she has demonstrated in terms of leadership, it’s not a quality that everybody has,” Tavano said. “She has a high level of ambition and she does a great job of leading by example. She’s not afraid to take corrective action with cadets, explaining the rules to them if there is a misunderstanding. I think it fosters a teamwork approach, both within each squad and within the entire class. Every academy wants a cadet like Sarah Theobald.”