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Personal Statement: A Career In Police Work Essay

A career in police work is something I knew I wanted early on. While in 7th grade, my teacher assigned a research essay on a topic of our choosing. Every topic I considered researching involved real life situations resulting in real consequences; alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy were some of the topics. Research showed communities throughout the country seem plagued with low income families who lack resources or education to change their situations. Unfortunately, often times this combination is a breeding ground for crime and substance abuse.

Intrigued by these issues, during the research I realized police officers play an ntegral part in the lives of citizens facing these challenges, whether through intervention or arrest. Although I would not be eligible for a career in law enforcement for many years, the desire never ceased. Fast forward several years to the point of taking my driving test. The Department of Driver Services license examiner now reminds me of the character Roz from Monsters Inc. At the completion of the driving test she uttered these words in the same monotone voice as Roz, “You passed, you drive entirely too fast, but you passed.

Hearing those words definitely reinforced the idea of becoming a police officer. Becoming a police officer was certainly in my future and nothing more suiting than a police car with lights and siren blaring! After graduating high school, I applied for a job as a 911 Emergency Operator with Cobb County. This would be a great opportunity to learn the operations, codes and signals, as well as a stepping stone in the process of becoming a police officer. After an extremely tedious background process, the county extended a conditional offer of employment.

Overcome with excitement and the feeling of pride, I successfully completed the first step in what has proven to be a rewarding career. Entering the building n January 28, 1990, a mere eighteen year old kid, it was terrifying to think about the responsibilities associated with this job. Knowing part of the job would be talking to citizens during crisis situations was a little overwhelming to say the least, notwithstanding the fact of officers would be relying on my ability to relay accurate information.

Quickly I realized the importance of my role of being a liaison between the caller requesting assistance and the officer(s) responding the situation. Virtually I was the difference for citizen and officers in potentially life threatening situations. Sometimes that was ncomprehensible for my young mind to grasp. Countless scenarios thrust dispatchers in the middle of extremely stressful and chaotic situations while never knowing the end result once first responders arrive. More often than not, I ended my shift with a feeling of emptiness and found myself searching for an explanation.

After doing some soul searching, I finally discovered the feeling was due to not knowing the resolution to the situation. Although I enjoyed being part of something that was life changing for those involved; I wanted more. During my tenure as a dispatcher I took full advantage of the police ride- long program. The purpose for the program allowed dispatchers to ride with an officer during their shift to witness the other side of the radio. Taking full advantage of the opportunity, I gained a real insight into the situations encountered by police officers on a daily basis.

Witnessing these situations provided me with a clearer understanding on what information I, as the dispatcher, could provide the officers to assist them in successfully doing their job. Moreover, wanting to be a part of the resolution during these situations solidified my desire of becoming a police officer. Immediately after urning 21 years of age in March of 1992 I submitted my application to be a Cobb County Police Officer. Additional background, medical and physical assessments, as well as interviews were part of the process. Keep in mind, I am not a physically fit person; never have been.

At the time, as a smoker, I knew the physical fitness assessment test would be my nemesis. The dreaded day arrived to complete the physical agility assessment test. Whether it was the standard for sit-ups, bench press, or the timed mile and a half run, several applicants seemed to struggle with one aspect or another during the esting. Accordingly, for me, it was definitely the timed mile and a half run. In order to successfully pass the run I had to complete it under 14:32. Extremely disa completed the run in 14. 36; consequently failing that portion of the assessment.

The evaluator explained that anyone who failed could redeem themselves by repeating that particular portion of the assessment. The caveat, I had to repeat the run after a 30 minute break. Knowing my physical ability, or lack thereof, it was inconceivable at the time that I would be able to repeat another mile and half run. Feeling defeated I knew I had nother chance to accomplish what I perceived to be the impossible. Each lap was a quarter mile and every step more grueling than the last. SomehowI managed to complete eleven of the twelve laps.

As I started the last lap my legs and lungs decided to quit and I felt I could not run another step. After walking the straight away, taking a moment to recover, I was fighting the clock to finish. Somewhere, somehow, managed to sprint the remaining portion of the last lap finishing the run binted in myself, I eleven seconds faster than the first run. I could not believe what just happened.. I DID IT! Notwithstanding the pain of doing the run the twice in such a short time-frame, I don’t know that I would have learned that the desire to success was stronger than the pain of failure.

P.O. S. T. mandated requirements and graduating, facing a new challenge, Precinct 3 is where I would learn to defend the constitutional rights of everyone l encountered, assist the public and contribute to society. Regrettably, due to insecurities and immaturity I was a less desirable officer, beat partner and After completing the employee. There are many times the job was less than enjoyable, although something deep down kept telling me olice work was my destiny. After a few years, change of shift and a divorce later I really began to understand the true meaning of being a police officer.

Even though I still had a lot to learn, work became more exciting as the outside influences were no longer a distraction. Evening shift hours along the interstate corridor near Cumberland Mall are what I considered the high speed low drag area of the county. The call volume was outrageous, the situations were intense and we constantly experienced adrenaline highs and lows on a daily basis. After becoming comfortable in my skin I was able to develop my own tyle of policing; it was then I began to see the fruits of my labor. Moreover, relationships with my shift began to blossom; I finally felt like “one of them”.

Camaraderie among the shift aided in the growth of friendships; knowing your partner always had your back regardless of the situation made a dangerous environment a little less intimidating. Establishing a solid work reputation was my key to success. Once that occurred, the rest of my career seemed to be a breeze. As of today, including myself, there are only 3 of 17 officers from my academy class still employed with Cobb County. Even though a few are still in aw enforcement elsewhere, many chose a different career path. One officer didn’t have a choice with either scenario.

Unfortunately, during a SWAT standoff in 1997 a barricaded gunman killed him upon entry. Privileged to call Steve Gilner my friend and honored to stand his casket as a member of the Cobb County Honor Guard. Consequently, nothing in my career impacted me like that experience. Gilner’s death had a profound effect on me as I realized every dispatch could be the last. Reflecting on my career, I can certainly recall situations where that particular point resonates. While assigned to the MCS Narcotics Unit we prepared to serve a search warrant on a known drug house.

Because of the late hour when we arrived, we realized most people had already gone to bed. Knowing this, while knocking we loudly announced “Police, open the door! ” Standing on the front porch, waiting to enter, a series of gunshots rang out from inside the residence in our direction. Instinctively, taking cover, I dove off the porch into a row of hedges. Fortunately, there were no injuries sustained during the incident. After further commands given to the resident, the suspect surrendered enabling us to resolve the situation peacefully. After a three-year stint in narcotics, I returned to a precinct to work uniform patrol.

While on patrol during my shift on a Tuesday morning around 10:00 a. m. , I passed two men in an older model Mustang who were not wearing their seat belts. Initiating a traffic stop, I activated my blue lights and followed the vehicle until the driver pulled into a business parking lot. When I approached the vehicle, I recall taking note of the passenger more so than the driver. Sitting starkly upright with his knees together and hands on his lap, he reminded me of someone scolded by his parents for poor posture. With the ntent to issue both a citation for failing to secure their seatbelts, I asked for their identification.

The passenger unable to provide one hesitated and had difficulty spelling his name. In general, most people don’t normally forget their name, much less how to spell it. Once I obtained the driver’s license and the purported name of the passenger, I returned to my patrol vehicle. To my surprise, the brake lights came on and the Mustang sped away. Reaching speeds of 90 mph as I gave chase, the driver ultimately lost control as he spun out in a gravel parking lot. Both occupants fled on foot, abandoning the vehicle. The driver went ne way; the passenger another.

As I play the scenario in my head, I vividly recall seeing the passenger reach to his right side as he ran. Over the years, one thing I learned is people instinctively check for their possessions; more so if the possessions are illegal in nature. During a short foot pursuit, I located the passenger lying in a brush pile in the wood line. Knowing what I previously perceived, I held him at gunpoint until my partner located us. After securing him in handcuffs, we found a gun on the ground where he lay. Moreover, chills run down my spine when I consider how this situation could have ended.

Remsberg, 2008) Reacting under pressure and the ability to think on my feet are two qualities I possess which guided me through the years. Situational awareness, quick response and multitasking are what I consider my strengths; all of which contributed to being recommended as a Field Training Officer, Corporal, Field Training Officer Coordinator assigned to the training academy and eventually promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Although my career is filled with unforgettable experiences, it has not all been positive. Unfortunately I am no exception to issues that plague police officers.

There are external and internal sources of stress that impact us every day. Several times throughout my career, I question why I continued to serve in such a thankless profession. Not immune to challenges of fatigue, burnout, frustrations with management, and shift work assignments; I began to resent my department. Sir W. S. Gilbert observed that “When constabulary duty’s to be done, the policeman’s lot is not a happy one. ” Furthermore, William A. Westley observed that “the policeman’s world is spawned of degradation, corruption and insecurity.

He walks alone, a pedestrian of Hell. Peck, 2015) Anyone with tenure in a law enforcement career can relate to both quotes. Throughout my career, I developed a pattern about every three to five years of seeking assignments that brought new learning challenges. Knowing my assignment in the Narcotics Unit was drawing near, this time was no exception. Routinely when leaving Narcotics officers report back to uniform; in 2000 I chose Precinct 2 which services the South Cobb area. Excited for a change of scenery and new challenges I later discovered this decision would be the best decision of my career and life; as it turned out this is where I met my husband Mike.

Ordinarily I worked the evening shift, however, often times I worked over to assist morning watch with manpower shortages. Responding to calls as I worked over to assist morning watch for several months Mike and I developed a friendship and from that grew a relationship; however a nepotism policy prevented us getting married. Nevertheless, we did not allow that to stop us from being together and having a family. By the time our daughter came along in July of 2002 we still worked different shifts. While worked day shift hours, Mike worked evening shift hours.

Fortunate to have great supervisors who accommodated our family needs, he watched our daughter during the day and would bring her to the precinct to swap with me at shift change. Eventually Mike transferred to TAC, which was the full time SWAT Team. Both working on advancing our careers, I took a position in the Training Division as the Field Training Officer Coordinator. Moreover, shift work took a toll on everyone in the household and this being a Monday through Friday, weekend and holiday off schedule significantly helped as it brought some normalcy to our lives.

Being the partner of a police officer is difficult for anyone, especially for those who do not understand the effects of stress related to the job. Both of us being a partner of an officer brought a unique set of challenges. Ironically, neither of us worried about ourselves while working as we were both very confident in our abilities. Nevertheless, the worry and fear induced by the other being at work. There were times when we didn’t know if we would we stay together. Consequently, seperating was a definite option as we approached a crossroad in our lives and as a result, in 2008 Mike began considering a career change.

Not wanting to forgo ten years towards his retirement, he began exploring options for a lateral transfer to the fire department. “Quality of life” was the response Mike gave when the chief inquired about the reason for his career change. Committed to both his family and career, admiration is how I describe my feeling towards his willingness to make the sacrifice. Based on his career change we were able to marry and did so in June of 2009. Despite having faced many obstacles through the years, we overcame the challenges and both been successful in our personal and professional lives.

Through the good, bad and the ugly officers are steadfast professionals in which I am proud to be a part. Ask the general population what they do for a living and the usual response includes what kind of work they do (example: / drive a bus, in construction work, work for an attorney etc. ); ask someone in law enforcement what they do for a living and the response is “I am a POLICE OFFICER”. We are our work and claim it proudly. Obviously the profession is not what it used to be as we walk around with a target on our back; sadly not for who we are as a person, but for the uniform we wear and what that represents.

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