It is not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work with them every once in a while.
And for Mary Sue Balazic, things were no different.
Early in her career, the 16-year veteran dispatcher for the Redmond Police Department (RPD) would occasionally bring her son Cameron Balazic to work with her. While there, he sometimes just slept in a chair in the office, but other times, he met and spent time with the police officers Mary Sue worked with every day.
From the start, she described the department as family and this was extended to her son as he continued to come in to work with her as a boy and teen. Mary Sue said officers knew and asked about the sports Cameron played and when he was older, about his military service.
“They’ve always just been family,” she said about RPD.
And while the department has been part of his life since he was about 10, it wasn’t until the end of last year that Cameron was officially welcomed into the family as he was hired on to the department in December 2015.
When applying for police jobs, Cameron said his top three choices were RPD, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department and Mill Creek Police Department. RPD was number one out of those three.
“To get my top (pick) was awesome,” he said.
Cameron, who attended the state police academy from Feb. 16 to June 21 and is still undergoing field training, said the time he spent with his mother at work “definitely played a huge role” in his career choice. He went on his first ride along when he was about 14 years old, and getting to know the officers who would take him out for a few hours and see how much they loved their jobs was an inspiration for him.
Growing up, Cameron struggled in academics and by the time he was 12 or 13, he knew he didn’t want a normal job.
When he got to high school, Cameron began to think about his life after graduation. He learned from his father, who served in the military, that if he went into the military, they would pay for his schooling afterward. So that is what Cameron did. He served in the military from October 2009 to October 2015, with plans to become a police officer once he was discharged.
For Mary Sue, having her son become a police officer and join the same department as her fills her with pride.
“(I am) such a proud mom,” she said. “So proud, it’s pretty awesome.”
At his mother’s words, Cameron tells her, “Don’t cry.”
A THANKLESS JOB
Mary Sue also said the fact that the department “respected (her) enough to want (her) son” was a compliment.
Cameron said “it’s a funny feeling” to be working in the same department as his mother. But he said he has a unique opportunity to be able to serve with family. Cameron said not everyone can work as a public servant as it is a thankless job. And dispatchers have the most thankless job of them all, recalling how he used to hear his mother while at work and realize how much her role affects what happens beyond the walls of the police station.
“That’s nice to hear,” Mary Sue said when Cameron said this.
RPD Cmdr. Erik Scairpon said it is rewarding to see such great team members such as the Balazic mother-and-son pair serving in Redmond.
“Robert F. Kennedy reminded us that you are never too old, or too young for public service,” Scairpon said. “Mary Sue and her son embody the spirit and attitude that drive many of our employees to serve their communities in law enforcement.”
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Scairpon said he remembers when Mary Sue would bring Cameron in to work when he was younger and it is exciting for the city to continue to reap the benefits of service from such a talented family.
“I also note that Mary Sue can continue to tell her son where to go, and what to do. Dispatchers and moms love that kind of thing,” Scairpon said.
Despite the pride she feels to have her son serving on the force, Mary Sue admits it can be stressful. But she said she trusts RPD “so much” and that the other officers will have Cameron’s back, just as he will have theirs. Mary Sue trusts that Cameron has a good head on his shoulders and the training he has gone through to get to where he is now.
Mary Sue was even involved in some of that training. Part of the practical training officers must go through includes being hit by pepper spray. When Cameron had to go through with that, Mary Sue was part of the group that got to spray him.
“That was fun,” she said with a smile.
In response to her comment, Cameron gives his mother a look that says he does not agree.
“For you!” he said. “That was awful.”