WCSO Change Makers WCSO Change Makers

The Meaningful Change of WCSO Change Makers

Change Makers see possibility. They understand their responsibility to impact change. They earn the trust of the community. Despite high-stress, high-risk situations, they make every effort to demonstrate integrity, respect, and empathy. They give support to those who might be having the worst day of their lives. Meaningful change happens because of Change Makers. 

At Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), our deputies aim to approach every day as a Change Maker. Deputy Chris Lee and Deputy Katie Kloss work hard to make a positive impact, inspired by the Change Makers that came before them.

“As a young child, the memories that are most seared in my mind are the images of law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs from all around the nation banding together to search the rubble of Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11,” said Deputy Lee. He was so moved by this work, it awakened a calling in him. “The sacrifices these first responders made for complete strangers was something that is unfathomable… I realized that being a first responder is more than a career; it is a calling.”

Deputy Lee began his career in law enforcement in 2012 as a reserve deputy with Washington County. As part of this intensive volunteer program, Deputy Lee accompanied deputies on patrol and on ride-alongs. This experience helped develop his skills as a Change Maker serving the community and inspired him to seek the advanced training required to join WCSO as a full-time deputy.

Critical to Deputy Lee’s work as a Change Maker is practicing dignity towards others. “I believe that everyone is created equal,” said Deputy Lee. “We have a responsibility to treat everyone with dignity. To be fair, consistent, and treat them as I would want to be treated. Without integrity and dignity, the trust that the community has in law enforcement would be breached.”

“I feel that trust is huge if we are trying to make a change. If the community cannot trust us to do our job we are failing.”
– Deputy Katie Kloss

According to Deputy Kloss, having that trust is critically important to making an impact. “I feel that trust is huge if we are trying to make a change,” she said. “If the community cannot trust us to do our job we are failing.”

Before joining WCSO, Deputy Kloss worked at a coffee stand where she had the opportunity to meet members of law enforcement. She established a connection with deputies that surpassed their drink orders, learning enough about their profession to apply to WCSO. “I didn’t know where to start or if I even was a good candidate. I honestly thought I was too old at 26,” said Deputy Kloss. “The support I received from my future coworkers really pushed me through the process.”

Deputy Kloss has always had an innate sense that she was meant to be in a profession that helps others, in part because of her own personal experiences. “Seeing law enforcement be some of the first people to serious situations and ensuring their community is safe really lit that fire in me to do the same,” she said. “One moment out of a few that helped me realize that I wanted to serve and help others was getting out of an unsafe relationship after feeling like I didn’t have a voice or anyone to turn to. I knew that my situation wasn’t unique, I didn’t want anyone else to feel like that and I wanted to be their voice, if needed, and a resource.”

Being a Change Maker means impacting the lives of others in ways you might not have thought imaginable. Deputy Kloss will never forget the moment she was thanked for saving another person’s life. She was called on the scene where a man was attempting to harm himself – he thankfully was saved after receiving medical attention from first responders. Deputy Kloss recalls crossing paths with him several weeks later. He approached her and said, “Deputy, I want to thank you for saving my life that day, I remember seeing you when I looked up.” 

Change Makers have a responsibility to promote change, and every interaction with the community is meaningful. The impact can be big or small, but positive experiences can make a lasting impression. “To me, serving the community means doing my best at whatever call I am on, whether that be a simple parking complaint or the most complex person crime investigation,” said Deputy Lee. “My hope is that I can be an encouragement to people by doing even the simplest thing, like sharing a smile with them or providing a listening ear.”

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Every day, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies are making a change in the community. Some of us knew from a young age that serving our community was our calling. Some of us were inspired by law enforcement and the calling came later. No matter how we got here, we know where we want to be.

I’m Ready