On April 9, 2007, I was sworn in as a police officer for the city of Lodi. The look in my children's eyes was priceless, though this was not the first time I had taken an oath to protect and serve. Nevertheless, as I write this I smile, thinking of how lucky I am and how making the decision to work as a police officer in the city of Lodi was one of the best choices I have ever made.
Before I share with you what it was like on my first day as an officer and the months in the training program that made me question myself, I have to tell you where I have been.
I grew up in the early '70s in southern California as happy kid, just blocks from the beach where I spent most of my time swimming and surfing the Pacific Ocean.
Two television shows that were extremely popular during my childhood were "Adam-12" and "CHiPS". I idolized the characters, who rode their motorcycles as they patrolled the freeways saving lives and at the same time appearing to have a great time. I really liked their camaraderie, and the CHP unit looked like a family.
I look back at that now and I realize I wanted to be a part of an organization like that because I was a single child living in a single-parent home.
Years later I was fortunate enough to meet Ted, a Long Beach police officer who saw my need for a mentor and decided to take me under his wing and be the positive role model I so desperately needed. Some of the best advice Ted gave me was that if I wanted to make my job as an officer easier, I should remember to always show everyone respect. He said, "If you show respect, you will more than likely get it back in return."
I have never forgotten his words. It was because of Ted that law enforcement became my focus throughout high school and college.
After completion of the Police Academy at San Joaquin Delta College and obtaining my bachelor's degree in organizational behavior, I began testing at numerous police agencies. During the time I was interviewing at various departments, a hiring freeze took place.
I went to work as a counselor at the Stockton State Hospital and was eventually fortunate enough to be hired as a police officer at the hospital. Though I gained a great deal of experience working with the mentally ill population there, unfortunately the job was short lived due to the closure of the facility. My career continued due to the fact I was the first police officer hired at the California State University, Stanislaus campus at the old hospital grounds.
But there was more for me on the horizon. Eventually I would be given an opportunity to work in that "family" department I so badly wanted as a child. Next time, I will share with you some of my experiences as a college cop and the biggest decision of my life to leave my stable job at CSUS and come to the Lodi Police Department.
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.