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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

45-year-old man finally achieves his dream of becoming a police officer after failing 26 times

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A Korean man named Ahn Tae-yong finally achieved his dream of becoming a police officer at the age of 45.

After receiving a notification of acceptance at the San Bernardino Sheriff Bureau in July last year, Ahn finished his 24-week academy training and held a graduation ceremony at the Living Family Church in Urban, Rancho Cucamonga, on the 26th. Ahn said, “I’m so happy to have achieved my dream,” adding, “I want to thank my family for showing generous support with a lot of encouragement and prayers.”

Ahn, who immigrated to the states in middle school, envied and dreamed of becoming a police officer after seeing a mission-oriented U.S. police in action.

When he was in college, he volunteered at the LA County Sheriff Bureau (LASD) for two years and learned what Sheriffs do by observing them.

Ahn said, “I was moved by how police officers put their life on the line for the safety of the community, and that fueled my dream of becoming one.”

However, he had to give up his dream of becoming a police officer due to various obstacles he faced such as identity crisis, language barrier, and the responsibility as a father after his first child was born. Ahn has been running a wholesale cafeteria business and also helping his dentist wife at the hospital.

After years have passed by, the George Floyd incident that flowed out of the news in 2020 reminded him of his dream again. Ahn said, “My wife watching TV with me asked, ‘Do you still want to be a police officer?’ and I suddenly felt a moment of regret,” adding, “so I decided to challenge myself thinking I want to experience wearing the uniform at least.”

The challenge was not easy. With his age, his body wasn’t what it used to be. “It took me 17 minutes to complete the 13-minute 1.5-mile test,” he said. “I applied to 26 places, including the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the LASD Airport Police Department, Gardina and Torrens Police Department, but I wasn’t accepted to any of them.”

But he said, “I wasn’t frustrated. This was just the beginning.” Juggling between raising three children and work, he could not afford making spare time for exercise. Therefore, he went out to run around the neighborhood every dawn when all his children slept to train his physical strength, even on rainy days.

After two years of hard work, Ahn was finally accepted at the San Bernardino County Sheriff Bureau near the East Vale area where he now lives. Ahn said, “Many Koreans live in Chino Hill and Rancho Cucamonga, so I want to help them by acting as a liaison between Americans and Koreans,” adding, “It’s a pity that the police reputation hit rock bottom during the pandemic.” He expressed his ambition, saying, “I want to leave a good impression on people as a police officer.”


BY JANG SU-AH [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]