FLORENCE, Ariz. – When Sylvia Shafer joined the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy in May of 1980, there were almost as many horses and cattle in Pinal County as there were people.
“It was vast, wide open spaces,” Shafer recalled, “Very agriculture.”
After working with PCSO for over a year, a job for a police officer opened up in a nearby city which she applied for and was accepted, but Shafer quickly learned bigger didn’t mean better.
“I missed the people, the rural lifestyle,” Shafer said.
So, in September of 1986, she returned to PCSO as a patrol deputy until she received her first promotion. In January of 1990, Shafer joined the investigations unit as a detective working property and persons crimes.
In 1992, Shafer arguably made her lasting mark at PCSO by being the first female deputy to join the Homicide unit. Two years later, as the county grew, Shafer moved into the newly formed Crimes Against Children unit; ensuring youth in the county received equal protection and justice.
|Chief Deputy Steve Henry and Sheriff Paul Babeu congratulating Cpl. Shafer on her last day at PCSO.|
“I really enjoyed working in that beat. I felt that’s where I made the biggest difference,” Shafer said.
She was also very good at it. In 1996, Shafer was promoted to Corporal, working as a supervisor in the property crimes unit.
Most who work in law enforcement begin their careers planning to put in 20 years of service, but Shafer never had a number in mind.
“I always thought they’d have to wheel me out of here in a wheelchair,” Shafer said with a smile.
But health reasons reminded her it was time to retire.
She’s worked for five different Sheriff’s and each one made improvements to the office, she said.
“Sheriff Babeu has made the most significant changes to PCSO,” Shafer claimed.
Pinal County has changed dramatically over the past 27 years, but the one thing that hasn’t is also the part she’ll miss the most.
“The people, I’m going to miss the people - especially my colleagues,” Shafer added.
“Corporal Shafer has been a valued member of the PCSO family for almost three decades. It’s not easy to replace somebody like that,” Chief Deputy Steve Henry said, “I wish her nothing but the best.”
“You can judge a person’s career by looking at how they progress. During her time at PCSO, Corporal Shafer has worked her way up to the top by consistently challenging herself to reach new heights,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said, “PCSO is a better place to work and Pinal County is a safer place to live thanks to her time and commitment. We’ll greatly miss her.”