GALVA — Staci Curl, chief of police in Galva, is a one-woman show.
"I'm a dog catcher, a marriage counselor or a family therapist. You name it I'm it," she laughed.
Galva has a population of approximately 900 residents, and it's Curl's job to make sure everyone is safe under her watch — even in the early morning hours.
"I can go a week with not much happening then I can go 72 hours with no sleep because everybody has decided to not spread the love throughout the night — I'm on their time and schedule. Nothing happens between a certain time frame, so if someone's knocking on my door at 2:30 a.m.— I try to solve their problem at 2:30 a.m.," Curl explained.
For 21 years now, Curl has protected those in her community, yet that may not have been exactly the plan when she first started in law enforcement.
"I always found it interesting. I was taking a juvenile criminal justice program class through Hutchinson Community College and that's where I got started in 1993. I just went into it and tried it," she said.
Before becoming Galva's chief of police, Curl worked her way up. She first began at the McPherson County Jail and was later hired on with the Canton Police Department.
"I started in Galva in 2000 and have been here ever since," she laughed.
As the only officer in the small town, Curl said her days can go one way or the other.
"One day can be pretty easy and laid back. I have a few kids I check on a daily basis, but then it can go from that to wanting to pull my hair out and not know which direction to go," she said.
If a circumstance gets too out of hand, the Sheriff's department is there for back up.
"The department is very good at coming over to help me. I wouldn't be able to do it without them — they are my support team if I can't make it or need help — they are my life line," she said.
As a one-woman show, Curl hardly misses a day of work, even if she is sick.
"Unless I'm bleeding out my eyeballs, I'll go and take care of it," she laughed.
As a mom of an 11-year-old son, Curl said her job can be frustrating at times because a call can break up family time at any moment.
"It's definitely hard — you're juggling all these balls and hope one doesn't fall. For the most part, he understands, that's all he's ever known. He gets frustrated with me when I have to put him off because the phone rings or we're doing homework or getting ready to go somewhere. Unfortunately, that's just a way of life for him," she added.
As her life can often be hectic, Curl said she takes time to take her son take on a family vacation once a year.
"We go out of state once a year and the Sheriff's department is good about taking my calls when I'm out of town," she said.
Policing small towns is much more than writing tickets, so Curl makes sure to come alongside her friends and neighbors she interacts with on a call.
"You get that one call where you know you've helped somebody. You have to make sure you know your community and knowing the problems, the issues and the people are important. But also finding the resources, even if it's not a police matter," she said. "If I can find where they need to be and get them to their avenue whether it be for drinking, drugs, mental health or if it's the elderly person that has no family — I've sat down many couches and have tried to figure out home health or what they're going to do next."
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.