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John M. Wills is the subject of an interview with “The Arts & Entertainment” magazine on Monday, October 1st. The interview will discuss his writing career and the release of Women Warriors: Stories From The Thin Blue Line. Don’t miss it! http://www.eeriedigest.com/wordpress/

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Tune in online to BlogTalkRadio and The Jersey Beat, Friday, August 24th @ 9:30 am. John will be the special guest of Women Warriors contributor and radio host, Donna Roman Hernandez.

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.

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.

What is your name and department/agency?

My name is Michelle Perin, and during my time as a police telecommunications operator I worked for the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department.

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

I am the mother of two adolescent boys and spend most of my time trying not to let them drive me crazy. When I’m not doing that, I ride my Triumph America, run, write and am a volunteer firefighter with South Lane County, Oregon Fire & Rescue. I also help with fundraising for the Lane Area Ferret Shelter & Rescue and foster three older ferrets. I like to call my house Perin’s Foster Home for Geriatric Ferrets. In addition, I am the board member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Education wise, I have a Master’s in Criminology from Indiana State University.

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

After a year or so of marriage, my husband told me when he discharged from the Navy he was applying for the police department. He did. A year later, when I discharged, I followed him to Phoenix and applied myself. It wasn’t something I had thought about doing prior. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who says,” When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a 9-1-1 operator/dispatcher.” Once I was with the police department, I started doing law enforcement writing. It was a way to merge what I was doing on a day-to-day basis and my love of the written word.

What is your present assignment?

I left dispatching in 2005, just shy of eight years, to pursue my writing full-time. I’m not a solo creature, so I got another “real” job in 2009. Currently, I work with traumatized children at a psychiatric residential treatment facility outside Eugene, OR. I still write copiously in the law enforcement market.

What do you like most about your job?

As a 9-1-1 operator/dispatcher, I loved the excitement of helping people. Like many cross-trained operators, I enjoyed being on the radio much more than the phone. The best times I had were being on our Westside frequency on second shift during the summer. Often I would have 150 officers on my channel and it was hopping, to say the least. I liked being a lifeline to my officers. I prided myself on being that dispatcher who never had to ask you to repeat yourself and always had your back.

What do you like least about your job?

Being under-appreciated. 9-1-1 operator/dispatchers are truly the first responder. We deal with much of the same psychological stress that all first responders do, although with some added caveats. We can’t “do” anything to make a situation better. An officer can respond to the scene and start handling the chaos. All we have is our voices. This can feel very frustrating and helpless sometimes, especially when an officer needs help. We also have to deal with shift work, bureaucracy, mandatory staffing and abuse from the public. We are often the easiest to blame when something goes wrong. Praise can be far and few between. We have to shore each other up and know we are in an honorable, necessary and important position.

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

They are proud of me. They recognize it takes a special type of person to be a 9-1-1 operation/dispatcher.

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 believe this. There are more men than women by far, but women are proving they can do this job and do it well. Public safety is evolving and every person has specific skills to add to the job. If every officer was the typical manly-man Robo-Cop prototype, departments would be weak. We need to have those with a variety of skills and personalities. In telecommunications, we were predominately female and it was opposite of the street expectations. I think our officers had a hard time if the dispatcher was male. They wanted that matronly voice I suppose.

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

9-1-1 operators/dispatchers truly do care. They may seem cold and detached on the phone, but that is part of the training. We have to ask certain questions to get people the help they need. They care about their citizens and they care about their officers. Many dispatchers have gotten off shift and finally allowed themselves to feel. We’ve wrapped our arms around each other and cried and cried. Those of us who are married to someone in the field also feel the stress of having to handle emergency calls with our loved one out there with the bad guys. The feelings of not being able to do anything can be worse in these situations. Dispatchers have worked calls where they’ve lost their husband in the line of duty. This was always my worst fear, but I reminded myself that if anyone could handle his emergency traffic it would be me. I also wanted to be the one who heard his voice for the last time.

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

I would. I enjoyed my job and helping people. I have had numerous incarnations of my career and am very glad I worked as a 9-1-1 operator/dispatcher when and for the amount of time I did.

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal

Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

What is your name and department/agency?

Phyllis MacLean Sciacca – FBI

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

I was born and raised in Mineola, NY (Long Island).  My father worked for Eastern Airlines, so I started traveling at an early age and love to go places (I have traveled to all the continents).  I went to Stetson University, a small Baptist college in DeLand, Florida, and majored in accounting.

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

J. Edgar Hoover had just died, and the FBI hired their first female agent the week before I graduated from college.  I read an article in the Style section of a local paper and decided that was the job for me.  Up until then law enforcement had never crossed my mind.  The only two jobs I applied for were flight attendant and FBI agent. I got turned down for the job of flight attendant – go figure.

What is your present assignment?

Retired.

What did you like most about your job?

I loved every day of my job.  I went into work with a plan for the day and many days that plan fell by the wayside as a new case came my way.  No two days were ever the same.  When you ask most people about their job they say “same old, same old.”  You can never say that about the FBI.

What did you like least about your job?

The only problem with the job concerned the family/friend events that had to be missed because of a new case.

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

My husband was also an FBI agent which made things a lot simpler at home.  When a call would come late at night and I’d put on my gun to go out the door, he never complained.  He knew the routine.  If the call wasn’t for me it was probably for him.  I don’t know how people with small children do it.

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?

Most people when they are scared or afraid are comforted when a big strong man comes to their aid.  After a brief let down they realize a woman is sometimes more sympathetic to their situation.  I initially had difficulty being accepted by my colleagues who were my own age.  The older the agent was, the more accepting they were of female agents.  I have always said that you don’t need to be big and strong to do this job.  You just have to have an attitude.  As my husband will tell you…I have an attitude!

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

Someone once said that a hero is just someone who was too afraid to run away.  Being in law enforcement is sort of like that.

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

Absolutely!

Is there anything additional you’d like to share?

Always be a live wire and you‘ll never get stepped on!

Texas County Court House

Texas County Court House (Photo credit: jimmywayne)

What is your name and department/agency?

Traci Ciepiela, Texas County Sheriff’s Department located in Houston, MO

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

I grew up outside Buffalo, NY. I originally  had a career in radio news when I switched to law enforcement.  I have a BA in Communications, a Masters of Science in Criminal Justice and had pursued a Ph.d., achieving the level of ABD.

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

As a radio news anchor in Michigan I had the opportunity to ride with the Michigan State Police, Iron Mountain Post, and fell in love with their job.  After a move to Missouri in 1997, I eventually switched careers and was officially a member of law enforcement in August of 1999.

What is your present assignment?

I work for the Texas County Sheriff’s Department as a road deputy during the summer.  I also teach at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY, during the school year. Year round, I teach online courses with Everest Online, Phoenix Online and Kaplan University Online.

What do you like most about your job?

The amazing people I have the privilege of  associating and working with.

What do you like least about your job?

I have a soft spot for animals; I almost can’t bear to see what people do to their dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.

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

My mother was shocked when I decided to pursue law enforcement. As a kid I wasn’t allowed to even have a squirt gun, now I carry a real one every day. She still isn’t very comfortable with the idea, my dad, I think, was proud.

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?

There always seems to be this type of accusation out there, no matter what the group.  If you are college educated and can’t do the job, it is because you have a college degree, therefore, all college degreed folks are incapable of being cops.  The same applies to women, if someone works with one female who can’t do the job then suddenly no female is capable.  Just because you may have had one experience that wasn’t great, doesn’t mean you should paint everyone with that same brush.  I have worked with white male officers who didn’t have a college degree and weren’t very good doing the job, but that didn’t cloud my opinion of other officers.  There was one department that I had a very difficult time being accepted as an equal, the rumor mill started and just wouldn’t end.  I was either having sexual relations with supervisors to get a promotion or to get favors.  I expected promotions because I was a female, even though I voiced my support for other candidates.  The entire situation really became very uncomfortable; I ultimately had to leave that department for my own safety and sanity.  Other than that department, I have been treated as an equal.

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

It is never what you see on TV, and maybe sometimes the public can give officers a break and not jump to conclusions based on what the nightly news anchor says.  There is also a lot more going on than what you see in the videos on you tube or the news.

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

I would do it sooner!