Looking to protect and serve in a career

At age nine, I went with my mom to the local dollar store on Fayetteville Street, where we saw a homeless woman riding her bike.

Kierra Chambers, Partners for Youth Intern.

Kieara Chambers, Partners for Youth Intern.

I can remember the woman was wearing a baseball cap, washed out Levi jeans and a black jacket. We were sitting in our 1996 Jeep Cherokee when she came to my mom and asked for money to get food. My mom’s answer started with a “No” and then she proceeded to yell at the lady.

I burst into tears.

As we drove away, I watched the woman and thought to myself, “Why would she do this to a woman already having a hard time?”

From that day forward I decided that I wanted to be a police officer. I want to provide support to the homeless and less fortunate, but also help put a stop to crime. On top of wanting to provide support to people, the feeling of helping others makes me feel good inside.

Providing stability for others could be my contribution to the community and in the bigger picture, the world.

Hearing about people dying and how it affects their families also sparks my interest in how I can help. Even though I know it would be hard, I want to be able to comfort the families the best I can with news concerning loved ones. Eventually I want to be a detective because I would like to solve the puzzles of what happened to these loved ones. I want to know why suspects commit crimes and what could be going through their minds during the moment.

While I have this career in my mind, what is a major concern to me is the lasting effect of this work. Police officers deal with a lot of stress. I’m horrible with stress. I have a disproportion with my leg, so I am also not in the best physical shape. These are two departments in which I think I lack what it takes to protect and serve.

This is what I want, but my personality would rather keep myself out of harm rather than in the face of danger.

So the real question becomes: how do I keep myself together and stay focused in serving the community?

From officers that I have talked to, women are often outnumbered compared to men in the police force. I have heard that women are often held in subordinate roles at crime scenes. Would I be treated as an equal?

Sometimes on TV they are not.

I watched an episode of COPS that suggested to me that women are often just accessories on scene. I saw a female officer arrive on the scene, wait for back-up, and in the end just kneels down on the suspect and sprays him with Mace.

I don’t want to be an accessory. I want to have as much hands-on as male officers.

Even though there is controversy and, sometimes, bad reputations surrounding the police, I’m still going to work to be an officer. I will be majoring in criminal justice this year.

I don’t want to see any other people like the lady that I saw when I was nine.