Ever since he was a young boy, Roy Choe wanted to be a police officer. “My uncle was a firefighter in Korea and, when I saw his uniform, I thought it was beautiful,” he said.
As he grew up and came to America, Choe had a more concrete reason. Basically, he said, “I wanted to help all the Korean people here who don’t speak English.”
He’s now been a member of the Fairfax County Police Department since 2005 and has quickly proven to be a valuable asset to both the department and the community. And Tuesday night, Feb. 21, he was formally recognized as the Sully District Station’s 2011 Officer of the Year.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Choe, 47, immigrated to New York City with his family as a youth and, after a year, they settled in Boston. He later served in the Korean military in 1988 and married there in 1991.
He first came to Virginia, about 10 years ago, and fell in love with it. “My best friend from high school in Boston worked in Virginia, so I visited him,” said Choe. “I liked what I saw and thought it would be a nice place to live.”
He and his wife Geasuk now reside in Prince William County. They have two children, son Philip, 17, a junior in high school, and daughter Alison, a college junior majoring in opera and criminal justice.
Choe graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy in 2006 and began his police career as a patrol officer at the West Springfield station. After 2 and a half years, he transferred to the Sully District Station.
“It’s a good station and good people,” he said. “Everybody who works here is awesome; everybody helps each other. And with so many Korean people living in Centreville and Chantilly, I asked to come here so I could help them.”
When asked what the toughest part of his job is, Choe said there isn’t any because he enjoys it so much. What he especially likes, he said, is “meeting different people and working on different cases.”
As for his selection as Sully’s Officer of the Year for 2011, he said, “I didn’t expect it. I work just like any other police officer. I’d like to see all the other Sully police officers get named Officer of the Year. But I’m very happy about it and so is my family.”
Also pleased was Major Jack Hurlock, commander of the Police Department’s Patrol Bureau, Division I. He’s worked with Choe before and knows him well, and he attended Tuesday night’s ceremony.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Hurlock. “I’m tickled to death that he got the award.”