From one extreme to another, that’s how the interviews go. Last month, a pole dancer/stripper. This month, an exceptionally pretty lady who happens to be, not only a cop, but a member of a SWAT team. You know, the nearest thing cops get to Marines, the ones who get the pleasure of dealing with the real psychos.
Hi, would you care to introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Joanne and I am a police officer and member of the (Name Removed) Special Weapons And Tactics team. Married with two children, two dogs, various wildlife and a heavy mortgage (smile).
So what made you go into Law Enforcement?
My Dad, his brothers, and my Mom’s father are or were all cops. It is a bit of a family tradition. I would sit on the stairs in my PJ’s when I was 5 (and supposed to be sound asleep), listening to my Dad and uncles talking about their day over a few beers. By the time I was about 7, I was determined to be an officer myself.
The rest was just negotiation with Mom, who was not keen on the idea at all.
So your parents disapproved?
Once Dad got over the shock and initial over-protectiveness, he was secretly thrilled, I think. My cousins and my sisters had no interest in it at all, so he was happy to have someone carry on the family tradition. Mom, well, I understand her point of view, especially now with children of my own and what she put up with every time Dad got a call or got home late, but she really put her foot down about it.
I was going to college and doing something safe, like being an accountant, like her. Since I needed a college education anyway, I smiled and went, studied hard. The day I graduated, my application went in.
OK, I can understand being an Law Enforcement Officer, but why SWAT?
Why not? It is not that much more dangerous than regular patrol work, especially for me. I am the team sniper, so tend to be both safe and very, very bored most of the time we get a call. My regular partner is also my spotter, so we know each other well.
Isn’t it a bit of a “boys club” though?
Well, yes, it can be. The whole force is like that though, very patriarchal and a very tight knit community. And I am perfectly OK with that. I made it on my own merits, and have been on the force, and on the team, long enough to be accepted as just one of the team. The one who is providing covering fire if needed, so the guys tend to behave around me!
Of course, there are people you get along with, and people you don’t. When it comes down to it though, cops see the uniform first, the person second. There is a, I don’t know, a deeply ingrained assumption that if you are in the uniform, regardless of sex or age, you are “one of us.” Not a civilian. Someone to be given back-up without question.
It doesn’t matter if you were having a bitter argument even a minute beforehand, when it all drops in the pot there are just us cops and the rest.
What are your thoughts about women who wish to enter Law Enforcement?
would encourage anyone who wishes to apply. It is a tough job. Hard in
ways that civilians simply don’t get. But immensely satisfying,
Well, I work rolling shifts, with a 24 hour callout for any time SWAT is needed. I can be doing vice work, or, more usually, straight up patrols and response, which means there are days when I can, and have, worked 30 hours straight, then 8 hours off and back to work.
And let me tell you, every time you make a stop, or attend a DD (Domestic Dispute) you are fully aware that the people you are dealing with may not be sober, or stable, and may well pull a gun on you. Every time the team gets called out, I have the strong possibility of having to take someone’s life to protect my collegues and the civs in the area.
It is a tough job, but worth it. Every day, i do my bit to make my town safer for people. What can be better than that?
Any regrets at all?
The downside of being a SWAT sniper is sometimes you simply have to shoot people. Of being a cop that sometimes your friends and collegues get badly hurt or killed for the stupidest of reasons. That is always rough on us all, when it happens.
What does your husband think about all this?
He’s my rock, and fine with me doing the job. He says he’d rather see me doing something I love than being miserable in a cubicle. He gets a little uncomfortable when I am not doing SWAT work – I work the vice squad usually, female officers are always needed for that and general undercover work, and the dress code is a little bit revealing!
He’s great with the kids too, a really involved Dad, and, being a general contractor, he can easily cover for me for picking up the children if I get a call out or my shift is wrong. I just wish he could cook something other than steak and pork chops! It is sweet of him to cook when I get home, but sometimes I just want something light!
One final thing, that has always bugged me. What is it with cops and donuts?
The sugar helps keep you alert (smiles).
I know it is a bit of a joke, but, like everything, there is usually a good reason for it. Coffee slops everywhere if you get an emergency call during break, which always seems to happen, candy bars are fine, but the wrappers can cause problems in the patrol car and they melt in the sun if you leave them half finished. Donuts give you a quick burst of energy in a fairly non messy way.
Thank you for your time!
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