BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When someone has been around for decades, it could take a lot to surprise them. But on one particular day at Baltimore City Police headquarters, a veteran officer got the surprise of her life.
When Officer Martha Sprinkle walked out into the first-floor lobby of the building off E. Fayette Street, she saw long time co-workers who had become friends, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and several members of her family.READ MORE: Second Alarm Dwelling Fire In Southeast Baltimore
The first words out of her mouth when she started making the connection that this was no ordinary day, were “Oh my God. Oh My God!”
“It was quite touching,” Officer Sprinkle said.
Officer Sprinkle, who had been on the force since January 12, 1981, is now in her 41st year of service. She’s planning to retire this year.
“It’s tough to give this career up. It’s something I’ve done for 40 years,” she said. “Put the gun belt on and came here to touch somebody’s life and make a difference.”
Officer Sprinkle’s service did not go unnoticed.
A few years after she entered the department, her younger sister, Officer Penny Sprinkle, joined the force. Officer Penny Sprinkle served for 30 years.READ MORE: Caught On Camera: Baltimore County Officer Rescues Ducklings In White Marsh
“I am very proud of her. I came on nine years after she did. She’s a great inspiration, great detective, great police officer,” Officer Penny Sprinkle said.
Her niece and nephew also followed in her footsteps.
“I feel grateful for her. It’s not too often you see officers in a spotlight like this, and to have such an honor bestowed on her, it’s an amazing feeling,” Officer Cody Hastings, her nephew, said.
“In the three years I have served, I have seen a lot. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like serving 41 years of it. It takes a certain type of person to be able to go out there every day,” Officer Hastings added.
Officer Sprinkle is the longest serving female officer in Baltimore’s history. The department believes she also holds the record in the United States for a female officer who is still serving.
In an era of increased tension, she has a message for others who are still serving.MORE NEWS: Rombauer Wins The Preakness Stakes, Medina Spirit In The Money
“Be careful of your surroundings, most important thing is you go home at night. You take care of people the way you want to be taken care of,” Officer Sprinkle said.