Archive for the ‘Patrol Officer’ Category

Casino logo

Casino logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the last three days, I’ve been at the Public Safety Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. I delivered a presentation on including the FBI in your novel, and also served on a panel about writing short stories. One of the contributors to our Women Warriors book, Michelle Perin, submitted her story in the writing competition and won! Kudos to Michelle. Her story describing the time when she was a police dispatcher while her police officer husband was involved in a shooting, was both compelling and touching.

Also, another contributor with two stories in the book, Amy MIchalik, won an award for a screenplay she wrote about Mexican drug cartels. She created a documentary that now looks like will possibly be picked up for a movie. Well done Warriors.

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What is your name and department/agency?

Nikki Tezak, formerly with the Palmer Lake Police Department, Palmer Lake, Colorado. I am currently a member of the Woodland Park Police Department, Woodland Park, Colorado.

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

 

I am the second child of four, 2 boys and 1 other girl, and we were raised by our strong, independent mother. I am in my 19th year in law enforcement, having working in diverse areas such as corrections, detentions, investigation and patrol. I was the first female and also the first sergeant in the town of Palmer Lake, and worked for a short period of time as the acting police chief. I enjoy spending my off duty time with family and friends, as well as spending time alone taking long walks and reading.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

Growing up I was witness to years of domestic violence. I knew at an early age I wanted to make a difference and help those who were unable to help themselves. As a helpless child and not having a voice, it was my goal in life to prevent any further abuse of those close to me. In 1993, I was able to put myself through an academy; I’ve been in law enforcement ever since. It is a struggle every day to witness abuse, and it has always been a personal mission to save at least one person.

What is your present assignment?

I recently made a career change after eight years as a sergeant with the Palmer Lake Police Department  and I am again enjoying my career on the street as a patrol officer with the Woodland Park Police Department. I look forward to making a difference within my new and exciting department.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy being able to make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes it is not the first impression, as all law enforcement officers know, however being thanked later for my efforts makes it all worth it in the end.  I always take pride in knowing that at the end of every day I have made a difference in one life. Whether it’s saving someone from abuse, or taking a drunk and reckless driver off the street, or finding and helping someone that feels they have nothing to live for, it’s all rewarding.

What do you like least about your job?

The worst part of being a police officer is the negative perception about officers. Knowing that once we put on our uniform there are people out there who hate what we stand for. If people only understood we do this job to protect them and their loved ones from harm’s way, it would make a difference influencing the younger generation and inspire them to respect the law and those of us upholding the law.

How does your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

My mother and step-father loved my career and were proud of me and my accomplishments. I come from a LE family, some of whom are in corrections and US Marshalls. To be a part of such an amazing family and career path is truly an honor.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

I believe for the most part woman in law enforcement have finally been accepted as equal, and we are part of what law enforcement is about today. When I started my career 19 years ago in small communities and departments, it was unusual to see women working the job. It took some time for some men to accept the changes. I believe myself, and many other women in this career had to work a little harder through the years to prove we deserve to be in such a challenging career. Because of the wonderful women who came before me, more doors opened for woman around the world. Having more females in law enforcement makes me proud to be among such fantastic role models.

What would you like the public to know about your job?

It would be nice if people understood we are here to help people and better society. We have families, we have emotions, we have bad days and good days and we are human. We chose this career to make a difference, not to hurt people. It is disheartening to know there are people out there who hate what we stand for and would rather hurt or kill a law enforcement officer, than take the time to realize we put our lives on the line every day we put on that uniform to save them and their families.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Without a doubt I would chose this path again; it is by far the most rewarding career I can imagine. People who are able to take the risk; give back to their communities and are willing to dedicate their lives to serving their fellow citizens realize an amazing, rewarding career. Those people who are serving in this capacity have a unique bond and become family for life. I made the right decision and I would never change my career path.

Anything additional you’d like to share?

My career has been a blessing and the most rewarding experience of my life. Having been a witness to severe abuse growing up, I never wanted anyone else to experience that kind of pain. I could have taken a different path in life, however, living through such a traumatic chain of events I knew this was the career for me. Having had many experiences in my career, seeing both good and bad, looking into the eyes of a scared innocent child, or taking an intoxicated person off the road that could have killed a family, gives me a better appreciation for the people in my own life. I have learned to value my life, whether it be good and bad, and in the end it is worth every minute, hour, day and years I have spent in law enforcement by touching the lives of so many people.

 

 

 

Dallas Police Department

Dallas Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Kimberly Owens, Dallas Police Department

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I have a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in English.  I am currently pursuing a Masters in Homeland Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.  I am married to an officer and we have one son.  My hobbies include reading, photography, and spending time with my boys.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

After college, I joined the department simply for employment.  I had plans to stay five years and leave to continue my education.  I planned to become involved in administration in the private prison system.

What is your present assignment?

I am a patrol watch commander in the Southwest Division.

What do you like most about your job? 

I enjoy the people who work for me and like having the opportunity to improve their work environment.  The best part of my position is the ability to make a difference in the lives of those reporting to me.

What do you like least about your job?

I do not like the stigma placed on every member of the profession when one person acts inappropriately.  Everyone is branded by the actions of one.

How does your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

My husband, being in the same profession, understands.  My parents do not love it, but are supportive.  Like any parents, they worry.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

I do think that has always been the predominate belief.  I have been fortunate in that I have not had much difficulty in being accepted as an equal.  I have run into more problems being accepted as a superior.

What would you like the public to know about your job?

I think they often fail to realize we are humans, just like them.  We do not have a giant “S” on our chests, and we have the same fears they do.  We also make mistakes, just like everyone else.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

I’m not really sure.  It’s the only career I’ve known and it’s hard to imagine another one.  I also met my husband here, which makes it worthwhile.  I would probably choose the same path, but may not have chosen to move up through the ranks.  That one, I’m truly not sure about.

Official seal of City of Newark

Official seal of City of Newark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Captain Donna Roman Hernandez (retired) – Caldwell Police Department

Caldwell, New Jersey

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and served with both the Essex County and Caldwell Police Departments during my 28-year law enforcement career.  I graduated from Rutgers University College-Newark Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in criminal justice.  I am a Domestic Violence Police Specialist and Trainer.  My father was an Essex County Constable – peace officer and our family suffered more than 30 years of domestic violence abuse at his hands.   Post retirement I am an award-winning independent filmmaker and the owner of Blue Force Films, a film/video production company specializing in police documentaries, short and feature dramas and law enforcement training videos (www.blueforcefilms.com).  I host a monthly broadband police talk radio show “The Jersey Beat,” (www.thejerseybeat.blogspot.com) and write monthly articles for two New Jersey-based police magazines—New Jersey Cops and NJ Blue Now.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

I entered the law enforcement profession in the early1980’s as a civilian Communications ‘911’ Operator/Dispatcher with the Newark Police Department and knew then it was my calling to help people who were in crisis.  I also wanted to help victims of domestic violence abuse who were suffering in silence like I was.  In the late 1980’s I became a police officer with the Essex County Police Department that was headquartered in Newark—a city I called home.  Unfortunately, my career there came to an abrupt ending in 1990 due to political reasons when more than 200 police officers were furloughed.  Nine months later, I was hired by the Caldwell Police Department where I served 17 years.

What is your present assignment?

In 2007 I retired as a police captain with the Caldwell Police Department.  Then my last assignment was second in command of the Caldwell Police Department and the Patrol Commander.   In addition, I commanded the Domestic Violence Unit, Domestic Violence Response Team and In-Service Training Bureau.  I was the Borough of Caldwell’s Accreditation Manager.

What did you like most about your job?

I loved the diversity of the job and working the road in Patrol; helping people in crisis situations; leading my Police union; the camaraderie I shared with police officers throughout the State; training and mentoring officers; and for the opportunity to know so many nice people and great parents who loved their children and community.  I was a hands-on commander who believed in community policing with a victim-centered approach.  Throughout my 28 years in the Patrol Division, I handled more than 300 incidents of domestic violence and trained more than 400 volunteer members of the Essex County Domestic Violence Response Teams.

What did you like least about your job?

I was the first and only female and minority police officer employed by the Caldwell Police Department and was the first female Caldwell Police PBA union representative.  For many years, I endured a hostile work environment, discriminatory promotional practices and gender-based retaliatory actions from the police chief and several superior officers; and retaliation from the mayor and Borough Council in my official capacity with the police union.  I watched the younger, lesser qualified male officers get promoted ahead of me and consistently was denied training opportunities and assignments.  I disliked the head-butting between our police union and the Borough Council Mayor that occurred each time our union contract expired and new contract negotiations began; and the “good old boys” club that existed within the police department.   In spite of the intimidation, opposition and discouragement I regularly faced on the job, I remained focused on the purpose of my profession and the oath I took to protect and serve.

How did your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

My mother feared for my personal safety but always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

In the 1980’s there was a perception in New Jersey that women were not as capable as men to work in the law enforcement profession.  Women in law enforcement were unrepresented or underrepresented especially in municipal policing and in the New Jersey State Police.  In the late 1980’s I was one of five policewomen hired by the Essex County Police Department in Newark, New Jersey and we joined a police force of more than 200 male police officers.  In addition, this “man’s job” perception existed in the administration of the New Jersey Department of Personnel Civil Service police entrance written and physical performance examinations.   After I failed the New Jersey Civil Service Police physical performance examination for the Newark Police Department in the late 1970s, I legally challenged the physical agility portion of the exam as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit brought against the City of Newark and the New Jersey Department of Civil Service.  Another case, theUnited States of Americavs. the State ofNew Jerseyand the New Jersey Department of Personnel, was eventually enjoined with my lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of women and other minorities inNew Jerseywho were discriminated against and denied jobs as police officers, prison guards and sheriff’s deputies.  In January of 1994, a settlement was reached and a Consent Decree was signed which ordered the State of New Jersey to pay $7 million dollars in back pay to all who were affected by the discriminatory practices of the New Jersey Department of Personnel/Civil Service. Finally, victory was mine and the equality in employment question has been answered!

What would you like the public to know about your job?

Law enforcement remains a dangerous profession more so since the terrorist attacks upon our Nation on September 11th.  Daily, police officers are on the front lines defending our communities, states and country.  More than 19,000 of our nation’s law enforcement officers’ have made the ultimate sacrifice and their names are engraved on the memorial walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Women and men who are called to serve as law enforcement officers are our nation’s every day heroes.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Yes, I would.  I know that I positively impacted many lives in the communities where I worked and I left the job with many fond memories. Yes, I experienced some bumps in the road as a female and minority officer. However, I persevered and maintained my dignity and integrity throughout my career. The lawsuit I brought against the State of New Jersey and the City of Newark challenging the administration of the police physical performance entrance examination positively changed the landscape for women and minority police applicants, not only in New Jersey but nationwide. When I defended my rights to employment in law enforcement, I did it not only for myself but also for all women and minorities.  I was a part of an historic legal challenge that helped change an ancient perspective that men and women could not be equals on the job.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I believe that every law enforcement officer’s professionalism can be measured by his or her level of personal integrity.  In our increasingly diverse country, officers must draw upon their multi-faceted experiences and extensive life skills daily to protect themselves, their communities and our homeland.   Now there are greater employment and promotional opportunities for women in law enforcement and more factual, intelligent discussions about the importance of women and equality in law enforcement.

 

English: Tulsa Skyline Category:Images of Oklahoma

English: Tulsa Skyline Category:Images of Oklahoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

My name is Laurel Ledbetter and I work for the Tulsa Police Department in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have been a member of the department since 1996.

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I grew up in Tulsa and most of my family is still here. I have been married for 12 years and my husband is also a Tulsa Police Officer. We have two children, ages 7 and 5. I was assigned to the case featured in Women Warriors during both pregnancies. I have a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I enjoy playing soccer and running—half marathons are my favorite, and I just started biking. I stay active in my kids’ sports and their school functions.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

As a high school senior, I was required to complete an internship. A friend and I chose the Tulsa Police Department as our internships because we thought it would be exciting (as opposed to a boring law office or hospital). After my first ride along I got the hooked! I went to college with the sole focus on becoming a Tulsa police officer. I began the hiring process one week after my 21st birthday and started the academy one month after graduating from college.

What is your present assignment?

I am a sergeant assigned to Internal Affairs as an investigator.  I have been in this assignment for the last 4 years. I miss the excitement of patrol or narcotics, but this assignment has allowed me to meet the needs of my family.

What do you like most about your job?

The opportunities. I’m able to specialize in a particular interest I may have, or move around to different units to prevent boredom. There are also opportunities to work different shifts, depending on your needs or wants, and a chance to be involved with the community at every level. I enjoy talking to people, and this job allows me to interact with people from all walks of life.

What do you like least about your job?

Currently, it is the mounds of paperwork. Work schedules are very tough for a two-officer family.  Sometimes there are several days in a row when I don’t see my husband.

How does your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

I am the first one in my family to choose law enforcement as a career.  Most of them are supportive, but some were skeptical; regardless, they have all learned to accept it. My family and friends love to hear my stories.  My mom still calls to ask why the police helicopter is flying over her house, even though she knows I’m not at work.

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, have you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

The fact is there are definitely more men than women in law enforcement. I have seen very little inequity in my 16 years. For the most part, if you are a smart, hardworking and talented officer, that is all anyone cares about, not whether you are a man or a woman. There are just as many male officers as female officers that I would not want by my side going into a confrontation or other dangerous situation.  It doesn’t matter what gender you are, if you’re not competent you don’t need to be in law enforcement.

What would you like the public to know about your job?

Police officers are human.  We have feelings. We have good days and bad days.  We get angry.  We get happy.  We get excited about some things. We get hungry. We get tired.  Most importantly, we care.  And the majority of police officers care about you—the public.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Yes. It has been enjoyable, rewarding and especially challenging. I would love to be a naïve rookie again; those days were the best, when I wanted to work 24/7.  However great my job is, I also look forward to the day I can retire from law enforcement and pursue another interest or career.

Is there anything additional you’d like to share?

I am thankful that my story was accepted and included as part of this book.  I am even more honored to be featured with such tremendous women who have experienced great success in such a noble position.

Hamilton Police Service

Hamilton Police Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Myra James – Hamilton Police Service, Ontario Canada

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I have served 24 years in municipal law enforcement services. I have been married to the same man for 31 years. I hold a certificate in Police Administration from McMaster University in Hamilton, and have a passion for supporting women in law enforcement, being immediate past President of Ontario Women In Law Enforcement and the current 2nd Vice President of International Association of Women Police. My hobbies include woodworking, calligraphy, gardening, playing ice hockey and riding my Harley.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

In the spring of 1988 I officially decided to apply to become an officer after being inspired by a male staff sergeant who was a mentor for me.

What is your present assignment?

I am the Crime Manager at Division 30.  My role is part of the original Neighborhood Safety Project.  I supervise several types of officers who are part of the Community Response Unit.  I actively participate in traffic safety initiatives, which involves the opportunity to ride the police motorcycle.

What do you like most about your job?

The opportunity to make a positive difference in the community I serve, as well as mentoring younger officers and assisting them in recognizing their true potential.

What do you like least about your job?

The challenges associated with attempting to resolve neighborhood conflicts that have taken many years to diminish.

How does your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

ALWAYS very supportive!

What would you like the public to know about your job?

There are multiple opportunities in law enforcement; it’s like having several careers over the span of a career.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

Absolutely, without hesitation.

Is there anything additional you’d like to share?

Cherish the friendships you have outside the police family, as those relationships with individuals who are not officers will help you avoid becoming cynical and one-dimensional.  Always endeavour to have a healthy work / home life balance.

Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Arlene Ajello, Chicago Police Department.

Please give us a little background about yourself, i.e., family, education, hobbies, etc.

I am the mother of a beautiful 23-year-old daughter. My passions, other than being a mother, were my job as a Chicago Police Officer and as an equestrian. I am a native New Yorker who comes from an Italian family—a cop family. I worked on Wall Street for many years until my dream of being a Chicago Police Officer came to fruition.

When and why did you decide to become involved in law enforcement?

I knew from a very young age I wanted to be in law enforcement. My father, an NYPD officer with over 20 years on the job, made an impact on me. His silent duty, honor and loyalty to the job and our family were infectious. I wanted to be just like Dad and make my family proud.

What is your present assignment?

Enjoying retirement.

What did you like most about your job?

Knowing every day I had a chance to make a difference on whomever I came in contact with, the camaraderie of my partners and teams I worked on, the thrill of the hunt,and the satisfaction of knowing I made a difference, even in the smallest of ways. Also, knowing each day was different and challenging was something I was always up for.

What did you like least about your job?

Nothing.

How did your family feel about you being in law enforcement?

Surprisingly, they were disappointed at first. They said a woman didn’t belong slinging a gun. However, they warmed to the idea over time, and my father finally congratulated me and said, “Job well done.”

Do you think the consensus is that law enforcement is a man’s job? If so, did you had difficulty being accepted as an equal?

Yes that is the consensus. At times there were major hurdles to overcome, and at times the women had to prove more than any man on the job did. Often my female counterparts and I felt like we were swimming against the tide of a male dominated world. But for me, I felt it backfired on them. It made me stronger, made me work even harder, and it made me a BETTER officer. I thank those who tried to show me there was a “glass ceiling and double standard” for women. It certainly helped my career, and I was able to pass it along to the younger females coming on the job to better their careers..

What would you like the public to know about your job?

The job is great! When I got in the squad car, I couldn’t believe they paid me for doing something I loved so much.

If you had to do it over again, would you choose law enforcement as a career?

OH YES!!!

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I would like to thank John M. Wills for giving me this opportunity to share my story in his book. I would like to commend him and thank him for his service and dedication to the job, his family and God. He is truly an inspiration and role model for so many people.