Hitting The Road

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD-It might be hard to miss, what with all the chocolate brown police cars looking sort of the same these days, but there's a new face patrolling Prince Edward County's highways.

Deputy Cindy Eldridge has officially hit the road.

“Yep,” Eldridge, the County's first road deputy says when asked if she remembers her first call. “It was a domestic.”

Email newsletter signup

Ah, yes, baptism by fire. One never knows what such calls may hold in store.

“But it wasn't bad,” Eldridge reflected.

They were just having an argument, she says.

You've just got to learn to talk to people, Eldridge says, adding, “A mouth will save you out of a lot of things-the way you talk.”

She's soft spoken and lean with an air of competence. The 37-year-old mother of two teenage daughters and Cumberland High School graduate has broken new ground. She is the county's first female road deputy.

So far, so good.

“I've been training with Lt. Farley for the last two weeks,” she said at the time of our interview. “He's been my ride-along partner. So, he just rides and observes. I take the calls and do all the work.”

It's the same it would be for a new male officer, too.

“No,” she says, when asked of special treatment. “Not that I see.”

And not that she would want any.

They've got a good group of guys to work with, Eldridge says with a chuckle, adding, “They call me one of the guys anyway.”

Adding, of course, a second chuckle.

Lt. Farley is there if she has a question, but he's been constantly quizzing her as they ride the roads of Prince Edward County.

“Doing real good,” he told The Herald. “…She asks a lot of good questions, like really eager to learn.”

And though she hadn't fully been turned loose, she had worked a traffic accident, DOA at a residence, and a stolen property call.

Eldridge was fresh back from six months of school (where she was recognized as the most improved in physical fitness), having graduated December 19, one of four female officers in a class of 23.

Deputy Eldridge, who lives in Prince Edward, has a background in corrections and worked at the ICA. When announcing the hiring last year, Sheriff Reed described her as “sharp,” and noted that she's already jail certified.

“Yes it was,” she says, when asked if it was more challenging than she thought. “It was totally different from DOC training. A lot of hands-on. A lot of physical activity, like running and lifting weights and stuff like that.”

At the time of our interview, there was a week left of the ride along. Still on the agenda, a turn at working radar, which had been part of Eldridge's training.

How's her family about this?

Her dad hasn't said much, her sister, who is in the medical field, is nervous.

“No,” she says, when asked if anyone tried to talk her out of it. “My husband (Andrew) was excited about it.”

When further prompted, “Yeah, he was real excited. I think he was more excited than I was,” adding a chuckle.

As for her daughters, she's talked with them, told them it's a dangerous job.

“They're getting better with it,” Eldridge says.