Sunday, April 3, 2016

In the end...

        In the end I learned the steps you take to be a successful, diverse, and honorable officer, are not quick and easy. There are obstacles such as racism and sexism that will attempt to knock you off course. You cannot enter the police force and expect to have respect, it is something earned with time and proof. As you work, your performance proves who you are, not what you seem to be on paper. However if you do chose to push yourself and fulfill the tasks placed in your lap there are benefits that aren't comparable to any other job. At the end of a day, you are a part of the workforce that allows a community to rest peacefully at night knowing justice will be and is being served to the malicious people of the world. I'm excited to work for a band of officers so dedicated to serve the people in the future. Until then however I am even more excited to attend Otterbein University to study criminology and prepare myself for my future. I absolutely cannot wait to jump into all that Otterbein has to offer. Students there in my major have access to programs such as internships with the CPD, the US Marshalls, and various others. I plan to travel abroad, possibly to visit US Embassies abroad as well. While I am a cardinal, I will have access to so many incredible professors and opportunities there is a large chance I may double major in psychology along with criminology. I'm so grateful for my visit to the CPD's Canine Unit and SWAT building, the CPD's Training Academy, and my mentor Whitney Lancaster for my new connections and am dying to jump into my field with my new knowledge.

SWAT Officer Enoch B. White's responses

I enjoy the fact that Officer White has hobbies that involve things I enjoy as well such as coaching and traveling. Since he is able to still have these hobbies, I am confident that if I were to pursue a career such as his own, I would be able to pursue my interests as well even in such a demanding field.

In some ways it is comforting that White has held diverse positions such as patrol, narcotics, motorcycle unit, and swat because it ensures that I would be able to experience different modes of law enforcement as well. Since I've always liked change and desire to experience everything possible this field truly seems like it has everything for me.  

I understand where officer White is coming from, however I feel like there should be more done to encourage minorities to pursue careers in law enforcement. Simply recruiting is not enough, there should be more programs where police officers visit schools and remind them that it is possible that there are cops of color and/or female.  By doing so, the racial demographic will change and become more diverse in time and association with officers at an early age will remind people that an officers main goal is to protect the community, reducing the accepted belief that cops are bad people.

 It's surprising that being CALEA certified does not change the process of evaluation for procedures and policies. He did say it prioritizes professionalism however if only the police departments who are chosen to be held to these high standards are already known for the ability to go above and beyond, what does that say about the departments that aren't? What kind of standards are they held to and are they even close to being high enough? Does this mean there is a greater possibility that those departments are at higher risk to becoming corrupt or producing corrupt officers?

I was not surprised with the amount of high impact artillery the CPD has and was glad to hear how protected our cities officers are. I'm a firm believer in arming the men and women who protect our country inside its walls and I think everything they have is necessary.

From Officer White's answers, I believe the direction I am headed, towards a career in law enforcement, is absolutely the right path. His ability to change his everyday job so often while still operating under the same department aligns with my need for a job that is flexible. Like many other places of employment, especially those that work for the government, there are things that need to be changed: involvement in schools to promote diversity and reevaluation of standards. Officer White's time and information was greatly appreciated and it is because of his openness and flexibility that reassures to me that it is possible to be a police officer that is dedicated to their job, their personal life, and the community. While he did not offer advice in his response, it is clear that in his answers the key to a successful career as an officer is the core set of values known as PRIDE, professionalism, respect, integrity, discipline, and enthusiasm.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pictures from the Columbus Police Academy

In the 1800's to the early 1900's police officers would have on a pair of knuckels, handcuffs, a billy club or nightstick, a log book, and a copy of Rules, Regulations, and Instructions. 

Female officers would carry a purse with a small handgun however were not given as much authority as male officers.

Here we have some of the older versions of items that officers carry such as chemical mace and a radio. There are also patches to indicate unit of police.
Various ranks and awards and officer could earn and firearm and ammunition holsters.
Large boot covers that officers would wear when working in extreme weather conditions and various batons.

An early female officer's uniform.

These are the core values that the Columbus Police Department follow. All around the training academy there are pictures with different unit members displaying these values. The consistent reinforcement of these values is important and can act as a moral background when out on duty.
James G. Jackson was the previous chief of police. His story and ability to overcome diversity after 51 years of service is one worth telling. He was the first black police chief when he was appointed in 1990.  He started as a patrolman on March 16, 1958, was promoted to sergeant in 1967, to lieutenant in 1971, captain in 1974 and deputy chief in 1977. My friend Officer Whitney admired chief Jackson's accomplishments and looked at him as an example of how to this day there is still much to be accomplished since it took so long for a minority to have that level of authority in Columbus. 

I found the CPD was accredited by The Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and must undergo continual evaluation of the policies and procedures. This means that the CPD is held to a standard much higher than most departments.
A typical classroom for officers in training.

This classroom was described as a specialized forensic classroom however to my dismay, I learned is not used as often as one would expect. This room is manly used for show which is incredibly disappointing. With my new knowledge I can't help but wonder if the CPD academy is hiding or perhaps forgetting their core value of integrity.
The arena where recruits are tested on their combat abilities. Physical fitness is a crucial aspect for officers and the ability to defend yourself and subdue a criminal in a violent situation is the difference between a successful operation and an injured officer.

In this auditorium, each flag in the auditorium represents a class of graduated officers. My friend Whitney is a member of the 71st class which graduated in 1987.

At the conclusion of my day I realized that like any other division of police, there were flaws. I was disappointed that my possible field of interest, forensics, is continuously ignored to be taught in the CPD training academy. This however may not be by fault of the academy but perhaps by lack of funding. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the academy and the respect given to one another. I would be excited to pursue a career here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Questions for SWAT

Officer Bio


Years on the force:


Previous positions held:

Personal interests:

Most memorable moment on the force:

What do you get out of your job?

SWAT Department Questions

I understand that the typical demographic for the Division’s sworn personnel is a middle aged white man with 15 years of service. How does this affect the morale of the department?

Females only account for around 12% of the division, in what ways does this affect the officer selection process?

I found the CPD was accredited by The Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and must undergo continual evaluation of the policies and procedures. How does CALEA determine if the agency is qualified?

The SWAT team spends around 25% of their time training. What exercises do they practice in order to maintain their highly regarded status?

How many members of the team are designated snipers? What guns do they carry?

What types of guns does the team carry? What kind of weapons?

What kind of armour do SWAT vehicles use? The officers?

What is the standard assembly protocol for the team when there is a call? Average response time?

In what order and formation does the team enter a crime scene? Who leads, who has which weapon, who is last in line?

Examples of emergency situations:


Lessons In SWAT

                       Lessons in SWAT

      To begin my day, I met my friend Whitney Lancaster at the Columbus Police SWAT and Canine Division. When I got there I noticed the wide variety of animals and vehicles just outside the building. There were horses and dogs in training with policemen in work boots and uniforms, a sight unexpected for most. I found that if you put aside the intimidating look of multiple police cars and several people with police badges, the mood was friendly and the room was full of conversation. Everyone I talked to were welcoming and seemed to be happy about what they were doing and what was in store for them today. This being my first time inside of a police building, it made me feel very comfortable with the atmosphere I would be encased in if I were to pursue a career in law enforcement.

      Who I met next was Enoch B. White a SWAT officer. He wore a camo uniform, much like that of military personnel, with large work boots, black under armor with S.W.A.T. written across the collar, and what I assumed to be a holster on his upper thigh for a type of handgun. He was very tall, approximately 6’5”, with dark skin with freckles and eyes that looked as if they’d witnessed much more than most men have judging by their wrinkles. I learned right away that he had been on call with a hostage situation all night and was extremely exhausted. He could not disclose all of the details however the basis of it was that a man was holding a woman hostage and had to be talked out of anything both would regret. As we walked around the SWAT garage, he told me about all the different types of vehicles inside. They had two large armored vehicles called BearCats, one 10 years old and one 5. The trucks walls were heavily lined with bullet proof exteriors that could withstand a shot from up to a 50 caliber BMG sniper rifle, a very powerful and extremely destructive rifle. Also there was a collection of undercover vehicles which I believe would be counter productive to describe, and 2 even larger trucks. Truck number one was meant for the transport of the entire SWAT team and weapons which I was not allowed to see inside of and the other was the negotiations truck. The second truck was equipped with cameras designed to see over fences, others to see through walls, and several computers and desks for the negotiations team. While Enoch White was extremely insightful when describing his line of work, actually seeing the powerful tools they utilize when working and seeing the large amount of effort that’s put into every call was what really made this experience outstanding.
      While I was there, my mentor Whitney was called in for something he had to complete immediately. He has always said his job was completely unpredictable and it wasn’t until then that I had realized just as serious he was. I understood how a SWAT officer would need to be ready at all times but I never realized almost all officers, at the desk or on the street, must be prepared to get to work at always. At first this intimidated me however I know that a job with this much action, this much freedom, and an incredible feeling of accomplishment was the choice for me. Although I may not become a SWAT officer directly out of the academy, I am excited to know that this could be a very likely career option in my future.
     At the end of my tour I gave Officer Enoch a packet of questions I wrote to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be in his position. I am currently waiting on his response.