With only two years of policing experience under his belt, 36-year-old officer Trevor Thomas jokingly refers to himself as “the new old guy” at the Decorah Police Department. But what he lacks in police book knowledge he has more than made up for with his life experiences.
Thomas, who graduated from Crestwood High School in 2005, worked with A&J construction all through high school and a year following. In 2006, he joined the Marine Corps as an infantryman, and spent three of the next four years deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, and on the USS Nassau with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Thomas and wife Sara, a Cresco native, wanted to start a family, so he left the Marines after his enlistment and they moved back to the area.
“Family took priority, and I didn’t want to be deployed and gone all the time and away from my wife and kids,” Thomas recalled.
Thomas worked at Seed Savers Exchange over the next few years as he and Sara settled down with their expanding family. But Thomas said he wasn’t completely content with his career.
“When I got out of the military, nothing I ever did afterwards filled that void of being in uniform,” he lamented.
In 2021, Thomas decided once again to don a uniform and make his mark – this time, as an officer with the Decorah Police Department.
He and Sara now have three children – two boys and a girl – and he feels he is where he is meant to be.
“My plan is to be in law enforcement until I retire!” he declared.
As one of the newest officers with DPD, Thomas has already stepped up to be the department’s training officer and is also the traffic enforcement officer.
According to DPD Chief Trish Thein, “In his short tenure, he has already been identified as somebody to take charge! He takes the lead and get things done.”
Thomas described himself as a quiet person, calm and level-headed, and credits that in part to his age and life experiences.
“My unit lost two marines while in Iraq,” he recalled. “At Seed Savers, when something would go sideways, people would always come find me to fix it.”
As training officer, Thomas is responsible teaching and shaping new recruits.
Thein shared, “He is the weight and balance on all officers coming into our department, and he is morally and ethically the example the new officers are trained to mimic.” She added, “They ride along with him every shift, and that speaks volumes about his even keel and his character. He sets the bar high, teaching these fresh officers how to be good human beings as well as officers.”
When Thomas isn’t training new officers, working with the community, or setting up a speed trailer to monitor traffic, he hangs up his utility belt and loves spending time with his wife and three children, as well as playing golf, hunting and fishing.
Thein summed up Thomas’ character best, saying, “He wears many hats well. Coming in with his life experience has benefits, and there’s only so much that can be learned from a book! What he has learned, he learned through living.”
When asked what the future holds for him, Thomas, a self-declared worker-bee, quietly replied, “I love getting down in the dirt with everybody else. I love doing my job, I love the work! I don’t want to fly through the ranks – I want to stay where I am for a while.”