Shaler native thrilled to join police force

Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Leah Nock has wanted to be in law enforcement for as long as she can remember.

Growing up in Shaler, it was an even bigger dream to someday be a member of the Shaler Township Police Department.

At 29 years old, Nock has reached that life goal.

“I guess I kind of feel honored to be able to work here where all my family is, but also just so many people that I knew and that I grew up with, too,” said Nock, who was sworn in as an officer in Shaler.

Nock joins the Shaler police department as its 27th member, in anticipation of the chief’s pending retirement that will bring the department to its usual 26 members, said deputy chief Sean Frank. She went through civil service testing and interviews, where she did well, in order to be hired for the job, he said. Being from Shaler, she has a headstart on community knowledge and is working to learn the department’s systems.

“We’re a community oriented police department. She seems to be fitting in very well,” Frank said. “She’s a very outgoing and friendly person, but when she has to apply the law, she’s not afraid to do it.”

Nock doesn’t know what drew her to law enforcement in her early years. She always loved police-related TV shows. When she was in elementary school, she recalls the grandmother of a classmate at St. Sebastian, who also was a police officer, coming to their class to fingerprint them.

“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool,’” Nock said. “I think it was just one of those things like everybody knows the police and looks to the police.

Nock graduated from Shaler Area High School in 2008 and received an associate’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from Community College of Allegheny County.

After attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s police academy, she began working as a security guard at Carnegie Mellon University. There, she climbed the ranks to campus police and was working as a sergeant in the department when she left to come to Shaler.

Nock, who says the majority of her family — from aunts to cousins — live in Shaler, has always wanted to work in her hometown.

When she and her husband Mike were buying a house in 2013, it had to be in Shaler. Now, they’re raising their son Emmett and dog Chevrolet, in the township.

Nock is not Shaler’s first female officer. A female officer in the department retired about six years ago, Frank said. The department also had another female officer for a short time about 25 years ago.

Nock doesn’t see herself any different than her male counterparts on the job. Although, she’s aware that people she serves might view her different, sometimes to her advantage and other times not.

What excites Nock about the job is that everyday brings something different.

Already, Nock met many new faces, and enjoys all of the waves she gets driving throughout the community, providing her with a warm welcome.

For her, the community’s friendly reception to police driving through their streets reassures her of what she already knew: That Shaler is a great place to live.