INTERVIEW

Cpl. Page Cash lives by heart behind the badge

Cash uses ministry background for public safety job

Abby Breaux photography
Abby Breaux photography
Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman, right, has known Cpl. Page Cash since they were teenagers growing up in Forsyth County. Now the two work together and Freeman said Cash is the best hire he’s ever made.
Abby Breaux photography
Photo
By KATHLEEN STURGEON
Posted

It takes many qualities to be a law enforcement officer. But for Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Page Cash, having a heart and using it might be the most important asset.

“I wear a gun and a badge and my No. 1 job is to enforce the law,” Cash said. “If I need to, I will. But just like any other officer who works here, we all have a heart behind this badge. We don’t do this for the money, but out of passion for people and helping them.”

For nearly 10 years, Cash has worked with the sheriff’s office in various positions including detective, school resource officer, negotiator and most currently the supervisor of community relations.

But she also credits a lot of her success in her current role to what she did prior to becoming a part of law enforcement.

A Forsyth County native, Cash spent 14 years working for an insurance company after high school. While there, her faith soon became a big part of her life, especially when she became “saved.”

“I sold everything I had,” Cash said. “I felt like that’s what I was supposed to do. I paid off my debts and went into missionary school in Hawaii at the University of the Nations. I did undercover mission work in Asia because you’re not allowed to be a missionary there.”

When she returned home, she again felt a need to let her faith lead her to her next step. She ended up working for the City of Refuge church in Atlanta feeding homeless people three times a day, cleaning the church and starting an after-school program for at-risk youth.

Soon she built up a following of women who would come to the church asking for Cash’s help.

“They didn’t know why but they trusted me,” Cash said. “These ladies didn’t have any reason to trust anyone because they’d been in horrible situations with their own family members.”

Cash started bringing the women back to the church, so she was given an apartment and a house, which she filled with homeless women. Eventually, she started a women’s recovery home which is still going today.

Again, the winds changed for Cash as she soon felt a need to leave the church, but didn’t know why.

“Then I found out my mom was sick,” Cash said. “I feel like God set it up where I can spend a season with my mom before she passed. We found out in August and she died in January.”

After that, she didn’t feel like she was meant to go back to the church, so she did various jobs including substitute teaching and being a personal trainer.

It was a chance encounter with the now Sheriff Ron Freeman that led her to her current role. Freeman was working at the department at the time and was having lunch with his wife at a local sub shop. Cash knew Freeman since they were teens because she was friends with his sister.

“We got to talking and he said, ‘why don’t you work at the sheriff’s office?’” Cash said. “It was something I’d wanted to do all my life. I think just about everyone’s had that desire at some point in their life. I thought I was too old because I was 41 at that time.”

But she was soon hired and started dabbling in different departments. However, she kept feeling God telling her about the phrase “teen interception,” although Cash wasn’t interested in teen ministries, so she soon forgot about it.

As she responded to calls, she spoke with many parents who were having trouble with their teenagers and asked if there was some way the sheriff’s office could help, Cash said.

“We didn’t have anything, and it became a burden on me to the point where I knew we had to do something,” Cash said. “We had kids overdosing, making bad decisions and ruining their lives. And I remembered ‘teen interception.’ ”

She created a PowerPoint of the details for the program, and was given the go-ahead by the sheriff at the time. So, in 2015 she created the Teen Interception Program. It’s a free seven-week program for teens ages 13-17.

The program has different themes each week including testimonials from officers and parents who have lost their kids due to drugs. The program will also offer off-site trips to the three places Cash says these kids will end up if they don’t change their ways — jail, under a bridge or death.

But it doesn’t take a “scared straight” approach, she said.

“We can be part of that success and helping them make good decisions in a different way rather than enforcing the law,” Cash said. “We have to do our jobs still, but we want them to see we are a resource that can help as well.”

Her goal with the program is to break down the barriers between officers and teenagers. Often for the teens in the class, they may encounter a similar life or death situation, so Cash said they try to bring that reality to them.

“I tell them in the beginning to keep an open mind,” Cash said. “Even if you don’t think you need this, I promise you can learn something that might help you save your or one of your friends’ lives. If we could plant a seed to when a teenager remembers one piece that helps them make the right decision, keeps them alive and helps them be successful, then we succeeded.” ■

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