Name: Erica Sandoval
Occupation: Police officer, Hermiston Police Department
When did you come to the area and what brought you here?
I moved here with my family in 1986. I come from a migrant-working family and my dad was in the army before that, so we moved around a lot. He wanted a more stable life for his kids and for us to be able to complete a whole school year in one place.
What is your favorite local place to eat?
My favorite local place to eat is Ye Olde Pizza Shoppe! My favorite food is pizza, but they also have the yummiest grilled burgers! The taco pizza and taco burger are my go-tos there.
What is your favorite activity in your free time?
Dancing, hands down! Especially salsa dancing. I do all kinds and have since I could walk, but after participating in Dancing with the Hermiston Stars in 2015, I started taking classes with Salsa Con Rumba in Kennewick, Washington, and it led into other types of Latin-related/similar dances like Bachata, Kizomba and Tango.
What’s the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
The Shack! And yes, yes, YES!!! I feel like I’ve read it a million times but still turn to it when my faith needs a reminder of how great our God is and trust we all have our place in this world. There is a movie coming out soon based on this book, too.
What is your favorite website or app (other than Facebook)?
I use my iPhone’s music app which includes my Apple Music subscription ALL THE TIME. Music is a part of my soul! I also like to keep motivated that someday I’m going to buy a house, so I use the Zillow app a lot to look up houses not just in Hermiston and the surrounding areas but in other cities I may someday want to move to, like Albuquerque, New Mexico, where my parents live. Yelp is another favorite especially when I travel.
What surprises you about Hermiston?
Hermiston is very progressive! The progressive is not the part that surprises me but that we are a small community in the desert with less funding and resources and STILL, we have been able to be steps ahead of our larger, more resourced bigger cities. For example (and I use this example because it’s what I know closely), our police department is using and has been using technology and philosophies like our body cameras and community policing for years where bigger departments across the nation are just starting to adopt these practices and ways of thinking.
Describe your perfect travel destination.
I can do that in a few words: sand, ocean, sun, and tropical. Hahaha! One of the places that makes my heart happy is the beach and the coast. I would prefer it to include sunshine wherever it is, but I do love our Oregon Coast in any weather. On my bucket list of life is to visit all the colored beaches of the world which includes white, black, green, pink, and red. I’d also love to dance all my favorite dances in the countries that they originate from like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, etc.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I’m not sure if it’s the funniest, especially at the time, but it still makes me and whomever I’m recounting the story to laugh. It was the second time I got tased. It’s changed now but before in order to carry and have a Taser, we had to pass a training class which included being tased. There was a “refresher” course to give us updates on the new model and included the opportunity to be tased. This was not a requirement if you had been tased in your initial training but I have to admit I let my ego get a little out and volunteered since a majority of the guys in the class were going to, as well. Did I mention I was the only girl in the class? By the end of the training, several had dropped out of the tasing part but not me. My turn comes up and I take the full tasing. This includes being shot with the darts AND a full 5 second ride. Doesn’t sound like a long time unless you are under 50,000 volts. So, I’m shot and everything seems to slooooow down….during this time I remember hearing what I can only describe as the sound a dirt bike makes when its being revved up. Well, lucky for me several of my “brothers” in the class had whipped out their cell phones and documented this event, which they were all-too eager to show me. When I saw the video, I discovered the cause of that dirt bike sound…yup, it was me!!!! It was me saying a not so nice word (saying, yelling…whatever) and holding out the middle vowel sounds for several seconds! I have a copy of the video and it still gets giggles preceded with the obligatory cringe when the darts hit. Never again, if I can help it!
What is one of your goals for the next 12 months?
My goal is to take flying lessons, at the very least, one. My first love after dance was aviation and in high school I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force and had my sights set on working on fighter jets or even the space shuttle (I am even a Space Camp alumni). My eyesight kept me from fulfilling that dream, but I’d still like to try flying and see if my love for aviation (which is still strong and thriving) includes being in the pilot’s seat.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’d have to say my proudest accomplishment is becoming and maintaining a career in law enforcement. It hasn’t always been easy and there have been times that it has broken my heart to the point I questioned staying in it, but it’s also been the most challenging and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to serve my community and also to be a part of this blue family that is connected all over the world.