I'm a Pathfinder: Rick Riffe
May 19, 2022
ASHLAND, Ky. – Rick Riffe’s journey at Ashland Community College began with realizing his high school counselors had been right.
A 1978 graduate of Paul Blazer High School, Riffe enrolled at ACC the following fall pursing a degree in computer sciences. He says his uncle had a career working with computers and urged him to take a similar career path. His counselors advised him that it might not be the correct program for him due to his dislike of math. However, he enrolled anyway, and realized that was not the correct path for him.
In his last semester of the program, he left ACC to take a job working with the railroad.
“Eventually, the economy caught up with us, and I got laid off,” Riffe said. I had gotten married and my wife was expecting our first child at the time, and I knew the railroad was going to be hit and miss. I knew there was no way I could raise a family like that.”
After losing his job, Riffe ran into a friend who was an officer with Kentucky State Police and an instructor in the Police Administration program at ACC.
“He urged me to sign up for classes. I reenrolled in 1984, after having spent two of the last four years laid off from the railroad, and I began taking classes in what I had always dreamed of doing, which was law enforcement,” Riffe said. “Through that, I was able to get a job in law enforcement, and in 38 years, I have not been laid off, so that worked out very well, plus I got to live my dream.”
Before joining the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department on January 1, 1994, he served as a park ranger at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park before transferring to Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement.
Riffe has spent nearly thirty years with the sheriff’s office and is currently assigned as Campus Resource Officer at Ashland Community and Technical College.
“Of all the assignments I have had, anything from investigations to narcotics to traffic, I think this is just as much of a challenge as any of the others were,” Riffe said. “When I was a student here, the thought of having to have a uniformed police presence was unheard of, but now, in the times we live, it’s just about mandated.”
He says while many aspects of the job are learned in the field, ACC did a good job of teaching him about the operations side of law enforcement.
“You don’t learn law enforcement from a book, but the technical aspects require education, and the Police Administration program showed you how a department should be run from top to bottom,” Riffe said. “The instructors that I had and the ones that are here today are impeccable. The instructors I had took the time to teach you how to do things the right way, and that is so important in law enforcement.”
Riffe said he has had the opportunity to work with Criminal Justice students at ACTC and knows the quality of education those students receive as a part of the program.
“Our Criminal Justice program here has the exact same state-of-the-art firearms simulator that the Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy uses,” he said. “All of the law enforcement agencies are going to require some level of education or experience, and ACTC is the best place to get that education.”