by Lisa Tome
Although she's a veteran police officer, Shannon Comley never saw it coming.
Recently, Comley, who is assigned to the special operations bureau at Elkton Police Department, and performs the duties of both a background investigator and school resource officer, got word that she had impacted the life of a student in the best possible way.
The student, who is not being identified, is a senior in high school. The essay commending the officer was submitted to the Town of Elkton without the name of the student. The teen wrote her college entrance essay about OFC Comley's actions which occurred five years ago. The officer received a copy of the essay last week. The teen was recently admitted to Stevenson University, in part, based on the essay.
Contained in the essay was the line "I have a lot of gratitude for Officer Shannon Comley and thank her for helping me see my future clearly."
The essay moved Comley to tears. "For five years she remembered me. I don't have words for this. It gets you right in the heart. This is the best Christmas gift I could have gotten this year," said Comley.
"That's so awesome. I know who this is. She knows me as a DARE officer. The DARE kids remember who you are because you work to make an impact on them. This is so amazing, so nice," said Comley.
Comley has served with EPD for almost nine years.
"You start your career and you say to yourself, if I could just help one person. You get cases and victims and you learn that you can't fix everything," she said.
"I became a police officer because my biological mother was just awful. I grew up dealing with police and social services. I had a role model and I wanted to do that for someone. I've always been interested in police work. I wanted to make a change in the world. I thought this job would give me the best opportunity for changing the world," Comley said.
She has worked as a DARE officer for seven years and is now a DARE mentor which means she teaches the DARE program to other officers.
"I love doing my job. I get to see all the good and I work with kids. It's cool to show the kids how wonderful police work can be. I want to see her (the teen) so I can thank her," said Comley. "She's a remarkable kid, always has a smile on her face."
Captain Joseph Zurolo, Elkton police spokesman said Comley will be recognized within the department.
"It doesn't surprise me that Officer Comley touched someone's life. This is the kind of officer we want in EPD," said Zurolo.
Portions of the essay:
" ... It was during this time that I met one of the most influential people in my life, Officer Shannon Comley of the Elkton Police Department who has encouraged and supported my career choice since the day we met.
In eighth grade, I had my identity stolen from Facebook.
...I was very fortunate to have such a good support system at the school. By the time my mother and I arrived for our meeting, not only was the Principal there but so was Officer Shannon Comley, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program. To our surprise, the situation was much worse than we thought. Officer Shannon Comley informed us that this may be a form of cyberbullying and that she would most likely need to pursue it as such.
“However, Officer Shannon Comley assured us she would do everything she could to find out who did this and through the proper legal channels, and that she did. issues.
“Since this has happened in my life, I have found that I sympathize and relate to each and every one of the victims out there and want to be a part of something so important to include prevention of cyberbullying. I want to be a part of the decrease in adolescent suicide through my pursuit in a career in law enforcement. I have a lot of gratitude for Officer Shannon Comley and thank her for helping me see my future clearly.”