Washington State Patrol
Big Bend Community College, Washington
At 33 years old, Annette Sandberg was appointed to the top law enforcement post in the State of Washington. She was the first woman to have a statewide chief's position in the United States.
Sandberg's key accomplishments at the Washington State Patrol included the improvement of hiring practices and the development of better community relations. She also created of a unit of bomb and drug sniffing dogs.
Sandberg did not plan to go to college at all. Her high school counselor recommended she attend Big Bend Community College which was near her home. A high-scoring high school forward, Sandberg played on the college's women's basketball team. After graduating with honors, she transferred to Central Washington University where she earned her bachelor's degree. It was there that she decided to become a trooper after a ride-along in a patrol car.
She continued her education while working full-time, earning a master's degree from City University in Seattle, and then her law degree from the University of Puget Sound.
Annette's passion is making the roadways safer. She regularly traded night shifts with her colleagues because there were more drunk drivers on the road during those hours. Her motivation came from a woman she arrested for driving while intoxicated. The woman thanked Sandberg for saving her life, a moment Annette says she will never forget.
Annette's skill and dedication will now have a national impact. In February, 2002, she was appointed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by President George W. Bush. In her position in Washington, DC, she will work on automobile safety and fuel efficiency standards. As the deputy administrator Sandberg hopes to continue her highway safety projects.