Many troopers learn about the terrible aftermath that comes from drinking and driving while on the job, but a new Washington State Patrol trooper had that lesson come during her childhood.
Jessy Hartman became a trooper in December and is quickly becoming adept at spotting drivers who shouldn't be out on the road.
While she officially hit the road last month, you might say she's been working toward this for years.
“I've been talking about being in law enforcement since I was 4 or 5,” explained Hartman. “My father, my uncle, my grandpa, my other uncle they were all in law enforcement, so I grew up with it.”
Hartman says her father is her hero and a big part of what pushed her in this direction, but something else also led her down the law enforcement path.
“My biological mom was an alcoholic since probably before she had me, grew up with it my entire life,” said Hartman.
Hartman was a freshman in high school when it took a scary turn. Her mom had just dropped her off when the unthinkable happened.
“She had a cup of something, usually vodka and orange juice, and on her way home she hit a construction worker,” Hartman said. “Drug him for 60-80 feet under her car and paralyzed him from the waist down. She went to prison over that.”
The crash was tough on Hartman and everyone involved.
“It's like a spider web effect, it doesn't just affect the person that did the deed and the person that received their end of the deed, but it affects their family, the other person's family, children, friend, the community,” Hartman said.
Now, Hartman is out on the road trying to help others and share the unique perspective she brings to her job. She has even been commended by people she arrested for her compassion.
“I want to get some drunks off the road, but at the same time, I'm not out to ruin people's lives. I'm not out here to scare people,” she said. “I'm here to educate people.”
Trooper Hartman sometimes talks about her mom with people she encounters. She hopes sharing her family's pain can spare someone else.
Her mother died before she became a trooper, but she believes her mother knows about the difference she is making.
“She’s up there. I have no doubt that she's smiling and she's proud,” she said.