The family business; Dickinson’s Wallace family has dedicated themselves to helping others
The safest home in Dickinson may be the Wallace family's during their scheduled holidays and get-togethers. Though it's a safe bet not everyone will be gathered around the table during Christmas. The family has spent several holidays knowing some...
The safest home in Dickinson may be the Wallace family's during their scheduled holidays and get-togethers.
Though it's a safe bet not everyone will be gathered around the table during Christmas. The family has spent several holidays knowing someone may get called away on business.
That's because everyone in the family of five works in either law enforcement or emergency services, with three spending time on both sides of the industry.
"Time together is scheduled," Dave Wallace Sr. said. "You work out holidays and special events. It takes some coordination and understanding and that's probably, for them and the family, they are used to it."
Dave Sr. recently retired from the Dickinson Police Department as a sergeant and is now a patrol deputy for the Stark County Sheriff's Office. He met his wife Sue, a paramedic supervisor with Dickinson Ambulance Service, while in the police academy in 1980.
Their three children-Jason, Dave Jr. and Cori-have all gone down similar career paths and, Dave Sr. said, all bring something special to the law enforcement world.
"Obviously Jason's is that he's a people person. Cori is detail orientated. Junior over here," he said, referring to his son Dave Wallace Jr., "his is more on the leadership end of it."
Dave Wallace Sr. has 36 years of law enforcement experience and worked 26 years with EMS. Sue worked in law enforcement in Belfield until 1990, when she began working solely with EMS. She's now a paramedic supervisor.
Detective Sgt. David Wallace Jr. started working with the Dickinson police in 2007 before moving to the sheriff's office in 2012. In an odd twist, he now outranks his father.
Patrol Officer Jason Wallace started with the sheriff's office in 2011 before switching to the police department in 2014.
Dave and Sue's only daughter, Cori, worked as a paramedic with Dickinson Ambulance for eight years before becoming a patrol officer with the Dickinson Police Department last year.
"It surprises me that they all went into law enforcement," Dave Sr. said, adding his sons tried different career paths before gravitating toward the family trade.
Dave Jr. worked as a manager at Walmart before stepping into law enforcement. Jason worked as a travel agent, but said having his family as a support system makes his work as a police officer easier.
"Everyone understands what the job is," Jason said. "So if you need to vent, they'll understand what it's about."
Dave Jr. said that growing up, there were "a lot of disgusting suppers watching TV programs like 'Life in the E.R.'" Jason, however, said the Wallace family's lives were always exciting because it always felt like something fun was happening.
"It just seems cool when you are a little kid," he said.
Dave Sr. said he was able to bring his children on ride-a-longs occasionally and believes that got them interested in the business.
He recalled one New Year's Eve when Jason went for a ride-along and, within two minutes of leaving the Law Enforcement Center, arrested someone for driving under the influence. After that, they saw a man running across a parking lot of Steiner's Pharmacy. After a foot chase, they found the same man trying to break into the front door of the pharmacy with a sledgehammer.
"After that, that was it," Dave Sr. said. "That was the hook."
Dave Sr. said he became interested in law enforcement because of his two brothers, both of whom are now retired-one from the U.S. Border Patrol and the other from the Minot Police Department.
Dave Sr. said law enforcement, as a whole, is one big family. Still, he said when he thinks of his own children, "you worry every time they put on a uniform."
Cori said it's great that her family is able to support her career and be there for her 8-year-old daughter, Rylee. Sue said the family was able to help watch Rylee during Cori's 12-week training.
"You miss the family life," Cori said about having to work around taking care of her daughter.
Dave Sr. echoes his daughter. He said one of the biggest regrets in his nearly four decades in law enforcement was the missed family time.
"There was so much time spent away from home," he said.
Rylee said she wants to be like her family and become a police officer, though she's partial to the police department, which she calls "blue" because of their uniform color.
David Jr. said his sons run around playing cops all the time.
Though it'll be a while before any mother Wallaces embark into law enforcement, Sue and Dave Sr. said they're proud of the legacy they've made.
"To see all of the children going into law enforcement and all into the same area is quite unique and quite an honor," Dave Sr. said.