INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Even in this more enlightened day and age there are still careers dominated by people of one gender or the other or that are seemingly closed off to many because of disability questions. So each spring the state of Missouri recognizes outstanding career and technical education students in non-traditional fields of study or who are advancing in non-traditional ways. And this year the Breaking Traditions award goes to this week’s Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever who wants to help people by carrying a badge and a gun.
It’s a dangerous, often thankless job and you certainly don’t get rich doing it. But Alyssa Webb can’t wait to do it for real — to be a law enforcement officer.
“I really like it and I’m excited for my future,” says Alyssa.
“So you think you’re on the right track?” asks a visiting reporter. “Yes, sir,” says Alyssa with a huge smile.
Alyssa’s a senior at Grain Valley High School in Grain Valley, Missouri but for the past two years she’s been immersed in the challenging Crime Scene Investigation and Law Enforcement training program at Fort Osage Career and Technology Center in the Fort Osage School District.
“I like everything that has to do about it,” says Alyssa. “And I like helping people. If people are struggling, I’d really like to help them overcome anything they are doing. And as a police officer, I know they help people every day, whether it be car stops when they are actually helping them be more safe or if you are going into a gun fight, you have to be ready for anything.”
As a fine cross-country and track athlete at Grain Valley High, Alyssa certainly has the strength and stamina to handle the physical demands of police work. But she’s really found her niche in the science side of law enforcement, especially crime scene investigation.
“Oh, my gosh, she’s an amazing young lady,” says Kimberly Vollrath, the Ft. Osage CSI/Law Enforcement program instructor and a criminalist. “Just as smart as she can be. Professional. Respectful. And just as an ambition that cannot be squashed. If she has it in her mind that she’s going to do something, then that’s exactly what she does. And she accomplished it well.”
Alyssa has become a real powerhouse in law enforcement training, earning multiple regional and state honors. She’s a two-time state champion in SkillsUSA competitions and she recently got the Missouri Breaking Traditions award as the state’s outstanding high school non-traditional career education student.
“If she has it in her mind that she’s going to do something, then that’s exactly what she does,” says Vollrath. “And she accomplishes it well. She makes everybody proud. And she makes everyone look good. She’s just unstoppable.”
“It’s really cool that people recognize me for what I do,” says Alyssa. “I just try my best every day and hard work pays off.” The Missouri Highway Patrol already has Alyssa on its radar. She soared through the Patrol’s Cadet Academy last year and has been invited back as a counselor for this summer’s camp.
“It was what the actual recruits and troopers do, what they go through,” says Alyssa. “And we got put through the same experience.”
And the City of Grain Valley made her the youngest ever recipient of its Pillar of the Community award for all of her community service, her superb work as a student and her many contributions as a leader of the Gain Valley Police Department Explorer Post.
“She really cares about people, that’s the biggest thing,” says Darin Chance, a Grain Valley Police officer who supervises the Explorer Post and is resource officer at Grain Valley High School. “She doesn’t really do it for the awards. She doesn’t do it because she wants to carry a gun and drive a police car. She’s doing it because she cares about people. She wants to help people. When I need something, she’s the first one to show up. And as we’re working, she’s the last one to leave. She volunteers for every detail. She’s just there whenever I need her. And I think caring about people is the best thing she could do in this career field because we need a lot more people to care about people in law enforcement.”
Alyssa has set her sights very high as she moves forward toward a career in law enforcement — the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“It’ll happen,” says Vollrath. “If she wants to go CIA, if she wants to do FBI, she’s probably be first on the list. She would be the best of the best.”
“I never say I’m always ready for anything,” says Alyssa, “because always is a strong word. But I’m pretty ready for anything.”
Here’s more proof of what a dedicated and driven learner Alyssa is. She’s never missed a day of school since Kindergarten. Alyssa will take that impressive record to Central Methodist University in Fayette this fall where she’ll major in criminal justice.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.