Patterson Pursues Police Career


Bryce Patterson (right) and mentor Tony McFaddin (left) pose after Patterson's independent study presentation.

Maya Humston, Reporter

Due to the many occupational hazards that make careers in law enforcement so dangerous, one must be physically and mentally prepared to enter this field. However, senior Bryce Patterson is up to the job.
This semester, Patterson has been taking an independent study covering law enforcement and police work, which he believes will help prepare him for a future in the industry.
“It’s what I want to go into, and my uncle does it, so it seemed fun,” said Patterson. “It kind of helped me get my foot in the door a little bit, and let me know what to expect when I get into it.”
However, patterson has learned much more than just what he was expecting.
“There’s more to it than just arresting people. There’s a lot of paperwork,” said Patterson. “And there’s different aspects. It’s not just patrol, its office and bailiffs and stuff like that.”
Patterson learned the basics in ways other than just a classroom environment, too.
“It’s a lot of ride-alongs. That was pretty cool,” said Patterson. “I got to see a lot of different stuff, got to pull a couple people over.”
Patterson hopes his career will allow him to stay in Rockbridge County, where he grew up.
“I like it here,” said Patterson. “I’m planning on staying, but I could do anything.”
He also says family is a big part of his interest in law enforcement.
“My uncle is the investigator over here, and my cousin is a correctional officer,” said Patterson. “Just watching my uncle do it [had a big effect], because when he started I was seven or eight, so just watching him do it as I was growing up.”
Patterson’s mentor was Tony McFaddin, the captain of the squad, who was more than willing to offer support.
“Anytime we can help out with young people that want to go in to this occupation were glad to help out,” said McFaddin.
One of the reasons McFaddin was so willing was that he knew Patterson well. His kids had grown up with Patterson and was excited to work with him.
“I’ve known Bryce the majority of his life, my kids have played ball with him and such,” said McFaddin. “It is absolutely a unique opportunity to have somebody like him to watch grow up and then try to develop and mentor him towards his profession of law enforcement.”
According to McFaddin, Patterson is a promising student.
“I think he is very engaged, he seems to be very interested in the material, and I think he seems very interested in law enforcement,” said McFaddin. “He has some relatives in law enforcement, an uncle, so I think that may have sparked his interest initially; but I think he’s really been amazed because he has a completely different opinion of actually what the job is versus what he has seen from afar, or seen on tv or the news.”
While Patterson says that not much in high school helped him prepare for his future career, he is planning on earning his associate’s degree in college with criminology and criminal justice classes. While it may seem like he has his future all planned out, he only recently realized that he was destined for law enforcement.
“[I’ve only known] for about six to seven months,” said Patterson. “That’s when I finally decided it’s what I want to do.”
He is, however, looking forward to the opportunity to pursue this career.
“I get to help people, get to serve the community,” said Patterson. “And it seemed pretty fun.”