Careers to Watch
Captain Sandra Houston
by Sergeant Angela Ditzenberger
Those who know her probably can describe her with one word. . . Dynamic! Sandra Houston epitomizes the word with obvious strength and self-confidence. Those who do not know this powerhouse of a woman, can sit back and take a lesson from one of the California Highway Patrol's (CHP) rising stars.
Sandra grew up in a family of nine children who were given the option of either going to college on the family's budget or enlisting in the military. While Sandra's eight siblings chose the military, she decided to take a different route and enrolled at University of California at Riverside where she attended on a volleyball scholarship for five years. After graduating in 1985 with a degree in Social Relations, Sandra started applying to law enforcement agencies including the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the Department of Corrections, and the CHP. She did not have her mind made up in which agency she was going to work with . . . yet.
She began researching the various law enforcement agencies she had applied for by talking with officers to get feedback for a career choice. She found that overall, the CHP officers she spoke with seemed to be very satisfied with their jobs. As she did her homework, she was even more impressed with the Department, and was delighted when she got the notice of an Academy date with her name on it. There would be no stopping Sandra from that point in her life. She headed for the CHP Academy in 1986.
Sandra's first assignment from the Academy was to the Central Los Angeles Area where she worked patrol for six years. In 1993, she promoted to Sergeant and worked as the supervisor of the Department's Office of Public Affairs. In 1995, she gave birth to a baby girl, Meghan, who is the light of her life. She strives to instill in Meghan the same strong principles her parents instilled in her as a child. "I do not tell my parents on a daily basis that I am proud of them. However, I think that part of who I am and my work ethic is a tribute to my parents and those things they established in me at a young age. Meghan is the only child I plan to have, and if I can do half for her what my parents did for me, then I have hit a home run as a parent."
Amidst her busy workload and the duties of motherhood, Sandra managed to promote to Lieutenant in 1998 and transferred to the Temecula Area. Then, in 2002, she promoted to Captain and is working as the CHP Indio Area Commander. Since the beginning of her CHP Indio Area assignment, she has taken on the task of mentoring officers through the Department's promotional process. She said, "I believe that every one of them has an excellent chance of making the list. I tell them they should not waste their time unless they are willing to make the commitment and study hard."
When asked about her CHP career, Sandra added, "If you take pride in yourself, do a good job on a daily basis, present yourself well, and behave professionally, (all qualities people should have when they come into this profession) you have prepared yourself for success!"
For additional information, contact the CHP at:
1-888-4A CHP JOB
or by e-mail