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Badge of Honor

Eagle Police Chief Patrick Calley

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, Photography by Cy Gilbert

Born in Butte, Montana, the home of Evel Knievel, Patrick Calley has been making leaps in his career, but not over cavernous gorges. His father, George, was an FBI Agent assigned to the Butte office. The FBI transferred Calley’s family to Idaho in 1972. The fifth of six children, Patrick attended school in the Meridian School District and attended Boise State University. He also served in the United States Army Reserves as a combat medic. Calley joined the Ada County Sheriff’s Office in 1989. His duties have included patrol, jail, detectives, and administration. He is a graduate of Idaho Peace Officers Academy, the FBI Command College and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. Patrick Calley was named Chief of the Eagle Police Department in September 2014. We sat down with him to ask about his career and what it means to lead in Eagle.

EM: Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?

PC: As the son of an FBI agent, I always knew that law enforcement was a noble career. I knew that I wanted to work in public service. I explored a variety of careers that included emergency medical, nursing, and coaching. My first experiences at the Ada County Sheriff’s Office were so captivating that I decided on a career as a deputy sheriff. I said to my family, “When it is no longer a great challenge and stops being fun, I will move on.” Well, 26 years later, this is the most fulfilling and rewarding job. It was a calling, and it has been a privilege. Serving as the Eagle Police Chief is about as close to the Americana childhood dream as it gets. I plan on being here for the long haul.

EM: What are some of the most challenging issues in law enforcement today?

PC: Police officers truly serve because of a strong desire to care for and protect others. With the national issues facing police and community relations, the Treasure Valley has the chance to be certain that we never allow our communities to slide on a slope of compromise that we may see on the national news in other metropolitan areas. We can hold higher expectations for our community that sustains our freedoms and trust.

EM: What is your leadership style, and who are your personal heroes?

PC: As a police chief, my leadership style is built on the many great leaders who have served before me. I hope to learn from everyone I have worked for. I believe in strong teams that are built on initiative, creativity and perseverance. I have learned from coaches, military leaders and teachers. I am inspired by historical leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Coach Holtz and Coach Lombardi are part of my drive just as the coaches that impacted my life as a student athlete. The military heroes that come into our lives give me energy. I had the chance to call World War II veteran Gerald Kirkpatrick a friend and neighbor. Every teacher I have had remains in my mind guiding me with their lessons.

EM: What can a citizen do to help the department?

PC: Sir Robert Peel [the early 19th century British Home Secretary who created the London Metropolitan Police who are still nicknamed “Bobbies” for him] once said that the police are the public and the public are the police. This is absolutely true. Have expectations of your own citizenship, be engaged and make positive impacts on other lives. Take care of your home, and look out for your neighbors. Want safer roads? Then be sure to drive safely. Be an example for others to follow. Always preserve trust in teachers, cops and all those that truly give to others

EM: What advice do you give to new officers?

PC: If a brand new officer asked for my advice, I would say this: Give of yourself to others. Keep your family in balance so that when you are off duty you can truly enjoy the beauty and freedom your profession preserves. Keep yourself healthy and always move forward keeping others in your care and guard.

EM: What are your greatest inspirations?

PC: I am inspired by my family. My children work so hard in their studies, music and academics. They are so much better than I was; that is a parent’s dream. Family time is spent enjoying home and garden projects, outdoors and supporting our children’s activities. I am not the only adrenaline junkie in the house. My wife Kirsten is an intense cycling and running partner. I only try to keep pace with her amazing energy. We love to camp, ski, bike, kayak and anything outdoors. I enjoy reading and studying history. My musical tastes span from classical to indie rock to golden country hits. My iPod play list is a buffet of music! I am huge college football fan! In the fall, I can be found anywhere there are multiple screens!

EM: What do you like about Eagle?

PC: I admire Eagle for all that it brings to people. It is a beautiful town that has potential for vibrant growth. While all cities grow, not many can maintain their small town feel. Eagle has done that. We enjoy beautiful residential areas, open spaces to venture and businesses for exploring. These have been balanced with planning and a strong citizenship. Therefore we enjoy low crime rates and a true livable city. My service at the Ada County Sheriff’s Office has kept me here for the greatest part of my career. When our high school aged children graduate and fly away, we will likely end up here.”