All of us had a dream in Kindergarten that we look back on now and say, "WOW! What in the world was I thinking!?" I look back on my Kindergarten dream and say, "I think that was a pretty legitimate dream for a 5 year-old!" What dream is it? Oh just a little thing called POLICE WORK! I want to be a police officer. A tazer-carrying, gun-shooting, report-writing, fast-driving police officer. And I am doing everything within my power to pursue it!
I blame my dad for my fondness of the criminal justice field. He's been a police officer since "before I was a twinkle in their (Mom and Dad's) eye." I have always admired that fact that no matter how stressful, sad, scary, or sleep-deprivating police work is, he sticks it out and keeps going - generally with a positive attitude. :) As a little kid I loved going to the department and hanging out with him at work. Generally I would just draw him pretty pictures on his big white board on his office, but I don't think he understands the influence those simple office visits had on me! (Right now my Mom is reading this thinking, "WHY DID I EVER LET HER GO!?!" ) I liked hearing the different stories going around, I liked the atmosphere of the department, and let's be honest, I liked the cool uniforms they wore.
Fast-forward a couple years, and police work kept coming and going in my life. I would want to be a cop, then I would change my mind and want to be a dolphin trainer or a President of the United States. But when I was 16, I had the opportunity to spend a week at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia for the Youth Leadership Program. I spent a week studying law-enforcement...and I loved EVERY SECOND OF IT! It was then that I knew that law enforcement was what I wanted to do the rest of my life! (Again, my Mom is reading this and saying, "WHY DID I EVER LET HER GO!?!")
I did not have many opportunities in high school for law enforcement, but I continued to move forward with the idea that I would major in it in college, which I have! Obviously you cannot just major in "law enforcement," but criminal justice is about the same thing! I have loved my classes I get to take through my major. I remember sitting in a couple classes just smiling the whole time. We would be talking about murders and bank robberies and I would just look like a kid in a candy shop! Kinda sick, right? Right. Oh well...someone's got to enjoy it! I have loved learning about how different cases have brought about different laws, or how police officers are supposed to handle different situations, or juvenile law. All of it is very interesting, and is good because the only math I do is how many MPH someone went over the speed limit. Phew. I think I can handle that.
Recently I have had lots of fun with law enforcement! I did a ride along for school the other night with an awesome K9 officer my dad lined me up with! Her name is Amanda and we just had loads of fun! The night started and we just drove around and got to know each other. Then someone ran a red light and she just took off in her big K9 truck! It was fun! She pulled the guy over and came back to me and asked if we should give him a ticket. I looked at her like she had just asked me if we should kill someone, and she looked at me like it should be an easy decision! I told her no, (and everytime I look back on it I wish I would have said YES!) so we let the guy go and continued on. She said she was testing me on my decision making. I suppose I passed. We drove around A LOT, and for the most part neither of us talked, but I enjoyed every second of it. I loved hearing the calls coming over the radio, I loved waiting for something exciting to happen, but mostly I loved driving around and knowing people were either thinking, "Oh I am about to get in a lot of trouble," or, "I'm glad my city is a safer place because I see that police truck." I look forward to the day when it will be ME in the drivers' seat. A couple hours after we started, a call came over the radio about a man on the loose that was threatening to attempt suicide and also threatening others. Turns out Amanda was closest to the situation, and when we were driving through a neighborhood this car FLEW out in front of us and took off. She gets on her radio and says, "I need a description of the vehicle." Turns out the suspect was right in front of us! She flips a U in her big truck and takes off. Honestly, through the whole situation I was more scared we were going to hit someone, not that I was going to get shot or anything. Anyways. So we get the car in a parking lot, she yells at me to stay in the truck, and she gets out. Gun drawn, yelling, "PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD!!" oh it was INTENSE! My heart was racing, and of course I just had a smile on my face. I'm sure if I was holding a gun I wouldn't be smiling, but I was right in the middle of what I have wanted to do my whole life! Of course I loved it! The guy got on the ground, and a moment later a couple other cops pulled up with their guns out. It was awesome. They ended up taking the man to the hopsital to be on suicide watch. Later that night a call came on the radio that a suicide-watch man had escaped the hospital. Yep. He was ours. Don't worry, they caught him! We also had a DUI that night, which I just sat and laughed because the guy was so drunk. But it was really cool to see a field sobreity test. I loved it. LOVED IT! It was just fun stuff, and definitely cemented the fact that police work is without a doubt what I should go into!
I have also been able to do the Sandy City Citizen's Academy, which basically I go each week and earn a different aspect of police work. The first week we did narcotics which was really cool! I loved learning about the ways the drug trade works, and what police are doing to stop it. Last week we did arrest control, knives, and K9s. Arrest control was stinkin fun! They had a guy in a big suit called a "red man." He looked like the stay-puffed marshmellow man from Ghost Busters, but dyed red. We got to beat him up with asps. (The big stick police carry for those of you who are not "police term competent.") I laughed because he kept punching me and it was just funny looking! Then I was suppose to yell at him too but he was yelling things at me like, "You're just a fat pig! I hate police!!" So it was funny. And he was red. And fat. Anyways. K9s. I love them. I love them the most! I have always loved dogs, and have secretly always wanted to work with them, but I have also always wanted to work in law enforcement, so let's just smoosh the two together and put me in the K9 unit! It's just amazing to me that a dog can be trained to do all that those dogs can do! They are extremely obedient, talented, and loyal to the death. To have the privellege to have a partner like that would be a dream come true. (And they don't complain or talk back.) K9 officers have a bond with their dog that is just AWESOME! Oh I would love to work with them! Anyways, so at the citizen's academy we got to put on the big fat suits and "run." Run is a relative term here because running in those fat suits is like running with your feet attached to your hips. You cannot MOVE! I am sure I looked like a penguin and moved about as fast as a sleeping elephant. So I started "running" and I probably went about 20 feet when all the sudden my feet flew out from under me, and I was flat on my back! About a half a second later, I felt the dog yanking my leg off, and I just started laughing! I couldn't help it! I was in a fat suit with a dog ripping my leg off! I am sure it would not be funny if the dog had his teeth ripping into my thigh, but since that was not the case, I have every right to laugh! And it was Amanda's dog, so I felt like we were already friends and now he wanted to kill me. Amanda finally pulled him off of me, someone helped me up, and I waddled back. When I got back everyone was laughing because I guess the dog had knocked my feet completely out from under me and then had to go back and get me because he had hit me so hard! That's cool. I loved it! I love the citizen's academy, and I am looking forward to each week!
I will continue to study criminal justice at UVU until I am 21 at which point I will apply to POST and go through police training! Woo hoo! I am very excited! Right now I am mostly working on my physical fitness. Lots of push ups, and lots of running. I will take down a 250 pound man on crack. Just you wait.