The longest-serving uniformed female public safety officer within the Iowa State Patrol has hung up her hat after retiring from a position she held for more than 30 years.
Pam Brockman, of Clarion, who retired as an Iowa State Patrol trooper on Wednesday, had been working for the Iowa Department of Public Safety ever since she was 19.
However, Brockman didn't always work for the state patrol.
"I started out working for the Capital Police, which eventually became part of the Iowa State Patrol," she said. "I couldn't join the State Patrol at the time because I was too young."
Originally intending to become a probation officer after receiving her associate degree in community corrections from Des Moines Area Community College, Brockman said she changed her mind after becoming acquainted with some members of the Iowa State Patrol.
"They told me they thought I should apply to the state patrol," she said. "And after I started talking to them and rode along with a few of them, I decided to join."
Brockman was hired as a member of the Iowa State Patrol in 1980.
"I started out in District 13 near Fairfield," she said. "Then I briefly left the state patrol to have a baby, and when I was rehired I was placed in District 7."
When she first started out, Brockman balanced both her full-time job with her education, working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice administration from Simpson College.
"I never planned on doing that, but there were law enforcement grants available for education," she said. "So I decided to take advantage of them. I'd work, sleep and attend classes, and I still graduated in four years."
During her tenure with the Iowa State Patrol, Brockman had several responsibilities.
"I worked as a field training officer, been on speed enforcement assignments and worked as a road trooper," she said. "In 1999, I became a part of the safety education unit. I did safety programs for preschoolers through seniors."
Brockman looks back fondly on her 35 years of service to the state of Iowa.
"It's been rewarding and there's nothing I can think of that has made me more proud," she said. "I've worn the seal of the state of Iowa since I was 19 years old and couldn't be more happy."
What's touched her the most about her career is the impact she's had on other peoples' lives.
"That's what it's all about," she said. "It's been awesome."
The one part about being a state trooper she won't miss is having to knock on someone's door to let them know their loved one was killed or seriously injured in a car accident.
But even in that situation, Brockman said those impacted by tragedy had kind words for her.
"I would have people come up to me and say 'I know you truly care,'" Brockman said. "For them to say that meant a lot to me."
In her retirement, Brockman plans on spending time with friends and family.
"I'm looking forward to helping my friends, and I might spend some time working at a garden shop in Clarion," she said. "I like doing things for people and I love the outdoors."
Brockman said she might also continue her work with child safety.
"I was recently recertified as a child safety seat technician, which lasts for two years," she said. "I might be able to do something with that certification."
She's also looking forward to more time with her family.
"My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter all live in Clarion," Brockman said.
While she's looking forward to her retirement, Brockman admitted she'll miss being a state trooper.
"It's going to be tough not wearing the uniform," she said. "I'll miss that a lot."