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Senior Trooper Toni Raugust
Senior Trooper Toni Raugust
Senior Trooper Toni Raugust
A Smooth Transition to Law Enforcement after 14 Years of Military Experience
There isn't too much that Senior Trooper Toni Raugust hasn't had a chance to experience in life. She's traveled all around the world as an emergency medical technician/paramedic with the U.S. Army. She's faced several different trauma situations in places like Bosnia, Germany, Korea and while working on assignment during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm conflict. Such varied experiences have given her the edge during times when others find it difficult to remain calm. Such composure is certainly an asset when pursuing a career in law enforcement. "Characteristics that were important in the military are also important as a patrol officer," said Raugust. "Things like being able to talk someone down when they have a weapon or recognizing the importance of chipping away at a problem as a member of a team and just knowing that there are several different way to achieve a common goal. It's also important to gather your senses before you open your mouth and think about things before you decide to do them…that's not always easy."
Raugust's interest in the military started much sooner for her than for most. She actually attended Army drill at age sixteen, even though she couldn't get paid for her service until she was seventeen years old. "I had to spend a year in the Reserves, then I joined 'active' Army and they sent me overseas."
When she finally left the military, she spent some time working for the United Parcel Service (UPS) which also has a reputation for being relatively regimented. "It didn't take long, though, before I felt like I needed to use my brain more," noted Raugust. "I thought the State Police would be a good career for me because I knew it would be structured, organized and paramilitary…and I knew I would still be helping people."

Being Viewed as an Equal - not Female vs. Male
Besides feeling right at home surrounded by military haircuts, Raugust was delighted to find that if she was professional, learned her job well and could pull her own weight, as well as the weight of others on occasion, she could easily gain the respect of her male counterparts. "I have never been looked down upon…at least not that I'm aware of," said Raugust. "You're treated as a police officer and you are viewed as an equal. I haven't experienced any of that 'hush hush' stuff."
"It's important for female Troopers not to think they can't call for backup when they need it just because they feel they have something to prove," continues Raugust. "We are all part of a team…men and women. I feel comfortable calling upon any of my team members to help accomplish our agency's mission successfully and safely."

Receiving Top-notch Training
Raugust emphasizes that the primary reason she applied with the Department of Oregon State Police, rather than city or county law enforcement agencies, was because the training opportunities available to her were so much better. "You live with your peers during training, you get more instruction and you get more time to learn new skills," said Raugust. "I also had a terrific coach (Sr. Trooper Milton Shigemasa) when I got out of Recruit School. I followed him around like a little duck and really idolized him. I've been with OSP a little over two years now. I'm still a rookie and I'm still loving it!"

Wearing a Trooper's Hat Attracts Attention
Rookie or not, as soon as Raugust put on the hat, it didn't take long for her to attract attention. One day, after being released from "coach status," Raugust responded to a multiple car crash. When she arrived, she found that a couple county officers and a city officer had also responded. A large group of people was also gathered around the site. "As soon as I got out of my patrol car and put on my hat," said Raugust, "oh my gosh…all these people started heading for me, even though I was the third or fourth officer on the scene. I was just flabbergasted because everybody came to the 'Trooper.' I wasn't sure I was ready for that yet, but I just calmed down, gathered my senses and then everything just seemed to click into place." According to Raugust, it made her proud that the county, city and the public just seemed to turn to the OSP uniform. "The agency's history was there as soon as I got out of that car," stressed Raugust. "People just looked at the uniform and had thought, 'that person knows what's going on.'"

Upcoming Goals - S.W.A.T. and Working in Eastern Oregon
Raugust describes herself as being like a kid in a candy store when she considers all the occupational avenues open for OSP Troopers. They can opt to work the road in Patrol or the Motors Unit (motorcycles), work with the Fish and Wildlife Program, work in Dignitary Protection, become a Detective with the Criminal Services Division or the Lottery Security Section, or do what Raugust considers the "ultimate" opportunity…possibly becoming a member of S.W.A.T.  This is definitely not something out of reach. After all, Raugust was the first female to receive the Lee Holan Defensive Tactics Award during Recruit School. She isn't kidding herself, though. Raugust knows that such preparation may take years. "I'm really going to persevere," said Raugust. "You have to be pretty tough to make the program, but I have been training hard and hope to put in for S.W.A.T. within the next year."

When She's not Climbing OSP's Career Ladder, She's Climbing Frozen Waterfalls
Approximately ten years down the road, Raugust hopes to transfer to Eastern Oregon, preferably the Bend Patrol Office. She would like to get on with the Motors Unit, if it eventually expands to that part of the State. This summer, her plans are to race at the Portland International Raceway. She also owns a race bike, a street bike and a dirt bike that provides plenty of recreation during the summer months. And what does she do for winter recreation? "I take a vacation every year and ice climb," said Raugust. "I climb frozen waterfalls. Next year, my plans are to climb the famous Cascade Waterfall. Several people have died trying to do it, as there are plenty of avalanches that occur to take people off. I believe I can do this, provided everything else is right." No doubt, she will.