EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - In October of 1978, Pat Ford joined on as a member of the Emporia State Police department.
Forty-one years later, he continues to protect and serve.
"It's a privilege and honor to serve the people in this community,” Sgt. Ford said. “It's a great community, as well as ESU. It's a great school and it's a great place to work for. I really do enjoy the opportunity to help people in their time of need."
Born and raised in Emporia, his son Alec Ford has spent his entire life watching his father protect his hometown.
"Hearing about what he did for the department, for the community and stuff like that, I mean those are some shoes I could never fill,” Alec said.
Alec began his career working at the detention center in Lyon County in 2013. Two years later, he decided to follow in his father's footsteps — joining the Emporia Police Department.
"My dad actually is the one that pinned my badge on me, so that was a very special moment for me,” Alec said.
"I had chills. It was really great,” Pat said. "Makes you proud of what your son has accomplished to be able to do that."
But Pat knows the job comes with risks.
"You worry that something's gonna happen, so I always try to teach him to be vigilant at all times, and be safe,” Pat said. "I wish he'd slow down a little bit, but he's eager and he's after it. Course that's kind of the way I was when I first started. I just hope he's safe at all times.”
Alec says when they’re on the same shift, his father comes to back him up on car stops close to campus.
"I'll always go and go and back him, and it's kind of cool to be there with your son,” Pat said.
Father and son by blood, the two are brothers in blue.
"He means everything to me,” Pat said.
"He's my role model, he's my super hero, you know?” Alec said. “He's the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing, big part of the cop that I am. He means everything."