Archive for the ‘Supervisor’ Category

Federal Bureau of Prisons (seal)

Federal Bureau of Prisons (seal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your name and department/agency?

Shelley Wykoff.  I work for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons.

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

I am the middle child. However, before it was all said and done, my father re-married twice.  I had nine step, half sisters and brothers growing up. I earned a Master’s degree in administration plus a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in sociology. My hobbies include reading, travelling and staying fit; yoga, running, lifting weights.

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

Technically, it is the field of corrections; specifically, the federal system field of corrections. I like to say it was all Dale’s fault, my boyfriend. I kept changing my major at Edinboro University, and began in the major of French to dental, then on to criminal justice. The university I attended was known for its criminal justice program. I was also doing security work with Dale at a hotel in Erie. Therefore, I was led by the events I was living at the time.

What is your present assignment?

I am an Operations Lieutenant (GL-11), having just received that rank and promotion.  I will soon be re-locating to a facility in Minnesota.

What do you like most about your job?

The ability to make a difference and lead those who are lost, while serving and protecting the public, staff and inmates.

What do you like least about your job?

The chance of being killed or disabled on a sunny afternoon.

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

Oh, like most families they worry about what I do, however, they are proud of me and recognize it is a tough job.

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?

Yes. Back in the dark ages and prior to the Feminism movement, but now it is a Hell No!  Yes, I have had plenty of problems being accepted as an equal—pressure to sleep with co-workers so I would feel more accepted.  Some male colleagues believe that is why we were hired.  But don’t do that everyone! This is my perception and opinion from my unique experiences, unless he is your complete and utter soul mate. Then be prepared to leave that career, ultimately there is an end to every romantic relationship.   Keep your Warden face on.

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

We are there every holiday, we do shift work, we are paid for that but sacrifice those precious times with our family or someone who cares about us.  It is not for the faint of heart. It is high-stress. The statistics are not kind to our field. We lead in alcoholism, suicide and die early after retirement with an average age of 59. We must retire at age 57 from the BOP but can continue service in the federal government if we can find a position elsewhere in the system.

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

I don’t think or believe one has a choice, rather one is born into a destiny. I did not choose it.

Is there anything additional you’d like to share?

Specifically, women employees in the federal and state prisons are paving a new path for women in this field. Historically, women were not allowed into the federal penitentiaries until the very late 1970’s to hold line staff positions. For years, The Federal Bureau of Prisons has had a gender-neutral hiring policy for all positions except correctional/federal officers at high security male institutions. In January 1992, the gender –neutral policy was extended to all positions, full implementation was in 1994. {footnote: Federal Prisons Journal; Winter 1994}  Today, women are still making “firsts” for the agency.  The first woman warden, the first Regional Director, Operations Lieutenant, Federal Officer. Women are leaving a trail of awesome administrators. The position I currently hold is held by only 4% (100+)  of women across the nation in over 117 federal facilities.  Since the beginning, the trend was for only women who came to the system from the military with rank. Now there has been a shift in that trend, college educated women are applying, too, and military women are using GI bill money to educate themselves as well.  We are professionals in uniform, white/blue shirt and blue pants.  Corrections ranks in the top five places to earn a modest living with a chance of a great pension, while making a difference.   Protecting and serving, there is no greater call.

 

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.