Patience and pursuit of passion pays off
By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Lauren Childress
Lauren Childress is the public information officer (PIO) for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). In that role, her main priority is media relations and informing the citizens in the community of the law enforcement related incidents that may impact them.
During most of her law enforcement career, Childress has been a voice bridging the public and first responders. She began as an emergency dispatcher in Southern California, and continued in that same role here for DCSO. Emergency dispatch comprised the first eight years of her law enforcement career.
“I moved here in 2013 to pursue my career with DCSO,” Childress explained.
After dispatch and working in the training unit for a time, she took her current position as the DCSO’s PIO. In addition to disseminating information to the public and providing community outreach, Childress said she has “the unique opportunity to work with victims and victims’ families who want to tell their story. In some cases, I get to be part of the healing process for victims and their families. It is very fulfilling for me. I have a true passion for helping others, understanding crime and crime prevention. I also have a passion for mental health and helping other officers when in need.”
Childress has other roles too. For starters, she is a student. She completed the police academy and became a sworn deputy with the DCSO in 2019. Having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, she is now pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science.
Childress is a dog lover and rescue shelter volunteer. Because of her interest in helping rescue dogs and her years of volunteering, Childress now counts a 110-pound cane corso mastiff as part of the family.
Childress is a renovator, DIYer and outdoor enthusiast. “I recently purchased a pre-owned travel trailer that I have been fixing up on the weekends with my husband and kids. We really enjoy camping and doing most anything outdoors, so we can’t wait to go camping this summer in it.”
Childress and her family love living in Douglas County for “the beauty of the open spaces, the cleanliness and the overall feel of the environment we live in.” Childress said the small town, tight-knit community feel is “the best place I ever could have chosen to raise my children.”
Childress’ most important role is mother. She waited until her kids were a little older before pursuing the PIO position, attending the academy, and going back to school. She has three daughters, one son and one stepson. Childress said, “I enjoy spending time doing almost anything with my kids. Whatever their interests are, I love to be the one to support them and encourage their growth. Watching them grow into their own little people makes me happy. They keep me active and young.”