28 and ½ years. 28 and ½ years dedicated to the Police Bureau. 28 and ½ years dedicated to the City of Lancaster. 28 and ½ years dedicated to the citizens and residents in Lancaster City. Meet Captain Sonja Stebbins.
Over the years, Captain Stebbins has had many different positions and assignments. From the Detective Division, to the Sergeant (and Lieutenant) of Special Investigations, to even being assigned with the Mounted Unit, she has been immersed in many different aspects of the Lancaster City Police Bureau. Now, as the Captain of the Patrol Division, she finds that the days are never the same.
One of her favorite moments from working all of those years in the Police Bureau, involves two young females that Captain Stebbins would frequently see due to their parents. In the eyes of those girls, Stebbins was a role model and even began to gain their trust. When their parents were absent, Stebbins stepped in and cared for these girls. 20 years later, there was a heartwarming reunion between these girls and Captain Stebbins. Reflecting on the first time she met the girls and the 20 year reunion, Captain Stebbins never realised the impact she had on their lives. This is one of the moments she carries with her day-to-day to put things in perspective.
Daily, you can find her taking the role of an administrator in the Police Bureau. Her duties include making policy, supporting the officers in the Patrol Division, supporting the infrastructure, and being confident in decision making. “It is important to me, as a Captain, to let my staff and co-workers know that I care about them… ” she says, “… in the end, I am leading people, all very different people from different walks of life.” She also continues to be proactive and to think outside of the box in the community through her position as Captain. Examples include the S.A.F.E. program at the local hospital and creating a Police Social Worker for Lancaster’s Police Bureau.
In the modern day and age, as media and technology are on the steadfast climb, perceptions can be changed ever so quickly even if one is providing unique solutions to problems. For Police Bureaus nationwide, due to the media, the perceptions are portrayed as either positive or negative. These perceptions tend to fluctuate constantly. In Lancaster City, the Police Bureau often receives letters of appreciation and have great feedback throughout the community.
When I had the privilege of interviewing Captain Stebbins, it was inspiring and motivating to hear her love for the city’s Police Bureau over all of those years. She is truly a leader to many and cares about the wellness of her officers. Shedding light on her many tasks and what she is doing for the City of Lancaster was the importance, for me, in this interview.