Northstate CHP officer graduates despite small-town odds


WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It was a culmination in West Sacramento. Nearly a hundred new officers were sworn in Friday at the California Highway Patrol academy, and they will go on to serve throughout the golden state.

But among all the numerous officers completing the program, it was where one academy graduate came from that is really the incredible feat.

"They take pride in everything they do," said newly sworn-in CHP Officer Sara Compton. "I wanted to join that elite group."

From Friday's early morning uniform checks, to the mid-morning ceremony and beyond, a long day is nothing for the cadets. But when it comes to long distances, and longer odds, Compton may take the cake.

"This class was incredibly intelligent. It was a hard group to compete with," she said.

Compton was the only individual from Trinity County in this Cadet Training Class II-13. While many hailed from Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Compton was the small fish in the big pond.

Her hometown of Hyampom was a small secret she kept from her classmates. She will go on to work for the State of California and its population of 30-million. The town of Hyampom has less than 250 residents.

"I didn't actually tell anybody that. They knew I came from Trinity County but they didn't quite know how small of a town I came from," Compton said. "I already got a lot of attention for it, but it was great."

She kept her head down. It was a grueling six months of physical training among countless hours of scenario and classroom testing. She worked hard as the class dwindled from 143 attendees to 95 graduates.

"It's hard going through each day and you may lose somebody, like squadmates, and friends. So that is challenging. It is difficult because you're wondering if it's going to be you," she said. "But that actually just gave me more motivation and drove me to work as hard as I possibly could."

Her uncle is a CHP officer, as well. Her badge was pinned on Friday by her brother, Christopher Compton, a Trinity County Sheriff's detective.

"It's such a prestigious thing," Christopher said. "I'm so proud of her that I really wanted to do it and she agreed."

Sara said they tried to get her prepared as much as possible. Her older brother offered up as much guidance as he could.

"The advice was they're going to yell, they're going to scream, you're going to be doing lots of push-ups, but you can do it," Christopher said. "That's what this job ultimately ends up being is a mental thing. You just push through and get it done and you'll accomplish great feats."

"I didn't actually tell anybody that. They knew I came from Trinity County but they didn't quite know how small of a town I came from."

-CHP Officer Sara Compton

He said she will face some unique challenges going from a small county to a big city.

"Stoplights," he said. "That's one of the biggest ones. We don't have any. It's a different world down [there]. So it's a transition she'll have to make."

Other academy graduates from the Northstate included Zachary Adamson, Calvin Robertson, Paul Traylor and Shelley Wilson from Shasta County. Also, new officer Eric Taylor is from Red Bluff.

Adamson, from Redding, won an award for being the "outstanding athlete" in the graduating class.

Each of these Northstate natives is headed to departments outside the area. Officer Sara Compton is headed to the Redwood City CHP in the bay area.

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