I cruise my beat near Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road when the dispatcher tells me to respond to Harney and Hutchins for a three-vehicle injury accident. My adrenaline flows as I drive to the scene of the collision with my emergency lights and siren on.
I arrive and check for injuries, obtain statements, tow vehicles and gather measurements. As soon as I am finished, the dispatcher has another call waiting for me.
Most police calls don't require an emergency response, but they are just as important.
One minute you are responding to a possible life-or-death call, and the next moment it can be a minor issue that someone needs assistance with. This is why I chose law enforcement as my profession - because every day is different and there's usually never a dull moment.
My experiences at the Lodi Police Department have been very positive. Besides working with my fellow officers, I'm amazed how friendly the citizens of Lodi are towards the police officers. Countless times, I've been approached by someone who just wanted to shake my hand, offer thanks or even buy me a cup of coffee. This can be very uplifting, especially when my day is spotted with depressing moments.
During these tough economic times, where there are cutbacks, furloughs and layoffs, my co-workers still seem to forge on with a smile, maintain positive attitudes and help each other during these hard times.
A good example of our resolve was proven during the recent budget cuts proposed by the city. As a department, we worked closely with the city to avoid any potential lay-offs. As a result, we took several "cuts" that affected our pay and retirement, so we could save jobs. This is something a "family" would do to help each member.
I always wanted to work in a department where there was a family feel. Some police departments are so large you become a number, not a person. The Lodi Police Department is a modest-sized agency, allowing the members to interact. Thus, building everlasting bonds of friendship. Believe it or not, some police agencies are so large that some officers will never meet all of their co-workers during their careers.
I could cite many examples of what my fellow co-workers do for each other. I have made choices in the past and I have failed, but the choice I made to come to the city of Lodi was the best decision I ever made. This gamble really paid off.
I am experiencing new things every day and gaining more job knowledge. I am challenging myself with many duties, and more importantly, I am working in a department full of people who I consider my friends, my mentors and my family.
Any comments, questions or advice for Behind the Badge can be e-mailed to Jeanie Biskup at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Lodi Police Department, 215 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240, phone (209) 333-6864.