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Forums » Smalltalk » AMA: I’m a cop

Hello! I thought I’d jump onboard this AMA trend for fun. I am a 26-year-old female in law enforcement. Currently, I work as a deputy for a small-town sheriff’s office in southwest Colorado. We have roughly 56,000 folks in our county.

I have worked both on the road, and in the jail. And I’m here to answer any questions you might have within reason!

NOTE: I do not want to discuss politics. Please keep any questions focused on the job, rather than our current political climate. Thank you!
There are questions I would like to ask you, but I'm having trouble thinking of anything that would not tie in to the current political climate. I'm also not sure how much you'd even have for some of it working in a small town.

Hm... I suppose... how do you feel working in a small town differs from working in a larger, more populous area?
I’ll ask a question or three...
- How much firearms training did you have before becoming a police officer?
- What is the standard-issue sidearm for your department?
- Do you have a preference in a sidearm?

And I’m curious about the answer to Zephyr’s question. I know when I lived in Cle Elum Washington, any openings that came with the city PD and also the Kittitas County Sheriffs Department were usually filled by The ‘Big City’ officers from King County, Pierce County, and Seattle & Tacoma PDs thinking the opportunities were a bit less stressful.
miarup Topic Starter

Zelphyr wrote:
There are questions I would like to ask you, but I'm having trouble thinking of anything that would not tie in to the current political climate. I'm also not sure how much you'd even have for some of it working in a small town.

Hm... I suppose... how do you feel working in a small town differs from working in a larger, more populous area?

I understand how many questions are probably tied into our current political climate. I am open for discussion as long as things remain civil! If you want to know anything about how my department operates, etc., let me know. I enjoy being transparent about how we train with people who are not cops.

As for your other question: I have only worked as a cop in a small town. While I do not have personal experience as a big-city cop, I have friends who work on the front range, in the Denver metro area. There is absolutely a difference in the call volume there versus here. That's not to say we aren't busy, or do not respond to high-risk calls, because we absolutely do. There is just a difference in how often we deal with certain calls, while cops in metro areas see things more frequently. There are some nights where we respond to back-to-back calls for 12 hours (the length of our shift), but it isn't every night. It's not unusual for big-city cops to have perpetually busy shifts. We do, however, still respond to deaths, assaults, and murders more frequently than you might expect. As well as other high-risk calls. We had our first officer-involved shooting in 20 years a few months ago.
miarup Topic Starter

Rogue-Scribe wrote:
I’ll ask a question or three...
- How much firearms training did you have before becoming a police officer?
- What is the standard-issue sidearm for your department?
- Do you have a preference in a sidearm?

And I’m curious about the answer to Zephyr’s question. I know when I lived in Cle Elum Washington, any openings that came with the city PD and also the Kittitas County Sheriffs Department were usually filled by The ‘Big City’ officers from King County, Pierce County, and Seattle & Tacoma PDs thinking the opportunities were a bit less stressful.

Good question!

I had very little firearms experience before becoming a cop. This is actually my second career. I have a degree in journalism, and worked for a while as a newspaper reporter in NYC. I grew up in a rural area and knew how to shoot a gun, but not well. I did not learn how to shoot a shotgun or assault rifle until the academy. Firearms is very important in our job, even though many cops go their entire career without ever firing their sidearm (thank goodness!). Firearms is also a perishable skill, and so it is one I practice frequently in my off-hours. Besides our department-mandated training, I try to hit up the gun range at least once a month to work on my skills.

The standard-issue sidearm for my department is the Glock 22 .40 calibre. I love Glocks, but I do not personally like .40 cals. I learned in the academy to shoot 9mm, and that is what I prefer to this day. A lot of cops like the .40 cals because they pack a bigger punch, so to speak, but my accuracy is better with a 9mm. I own and use a Glock 19x on duty. The frame fits my hands better, and it is a 9mm.
I have a few questions and I hope they don't offend you and you don't mind replying to them. If you don't wanna reply that's totally okay!! :)

Why did you choose to become a cop?
Do you feel any difference in...well, any way, between genders in the law enforcement?
Mental health wise, how do you feel about what you experience, how does it affect you and how do you get through it?

I know these are pretty deep questions sooo...I'm sorry beforehand XD I didn't mean to go that deep.
Ok, since you seem to be ok with it, judging from your response to Zelphyr, what do you think about the bad cop situation and the "good" cops covering for them?

I'm not implying that you are a bad cop btw, just that I don't think a cop can be considered good if they cover up for the rotten apples.

Again you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, it would just be interesting to hear a cop's perspective on the matter.
miarup Topic Starter

ChocolateIceCream wrote:
I have a few questions and I hope they don't offend you and you don't mind replying to them. If you don't wanna reply that's totally okay!! :)

Why did you choose to become a cop?
Do you feel any difference in...well, any way, between genders in the law enforcement?
Mental health wise, how do you feel about what you experience, how does it affect you and how do you get through it?

I know these are pretty deep questions sooo...I'm sorry beforehand XD I didn't mean to go that deep.

Really great questions, thank you for asking!

I've wanted to be a cop since I was a kid. I remember watching the show COPS growing up with my mother, and I really wanted to be part of a SWAT team. But nobody in my family is a police officer or military, and so it seemed like an unachievable goal. After graduating high school, I went into journalism because I was good at writing. After moving to Colorado from NYC, I worked for a newspaper covering the local police beat. I got to know a lot of the officers here, and was really impressed by their professionalism and community outreach. After some uncertainty in the journalism field and a lot of layoffs, I decided to attend the local police academy. Thankfully, I love the job, because it was a big risk and I had no idea if I would even be good at it.

Policing has come a long way in recent years, but I still refer to it as a "good ol' boys club." There are not nearly as many females in law enforcement as males, and I do have to work significantly harder than my male coworkers to prove myself in this field. While I've been really lucky and haven't experienced much sexism in my department, it does happen. Because women are often smaller, there is the belief that we can't always hold our own in a fight, or do what is necessary to make an arrest. One recent accomplishment I've had is becoming a Krav (self-defense and arrest control) instructor for my department, because I am the only female instructor among 11 men.

This job can really take a toll on your mental health if you are not careful. We see the absolute worst in humanity, and often times, if someone is calling the police, they are having the worst day of their life. I've seen some pretty awful things in my short period in law enforcement, and it is important to seek therapy if necessary. Many departments offer counselors, but unfortunately, there still exists a taboo with seeking help as a cop. Many LEOs believe they have to "tough it out" whenever dealing with trauma from work, and that simply isn't true. I am lucky to be surrounded by some great friends and family I can turn to if I'm feeling overwhelmed by the job, but therapy is never out of the question if needed.
miarup Topic Starter

Katia wrote:
Ok, since you seem to be ok with it, judging from your response to Zelphyr, what do you think about the bad cop situation and the "good" cops covering for them?

I'm not implying that you are a bad cop btw, just that I don't think a cop can be considered good if they cover up for the rotten apples.

Again you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, it would just be interesting to hear a cop's perspective on the matter.

I do not mind answering this at all. Whenever a cop, or cops, ignore a colleague's blatant misconduct, we refer to this as the "blue wall of silence." It is never OK, and a cop should not look the other way if their partner is engaging in misconduct. I am not exactly sure what you are referring to when you say "bad cop situation," but if you want to elaborate, I can probably answer this a little better.

I can only speak from my experience within my current department, but we are told to always speak up if we see a coworker engaging in inappropriate or otherwise unjustified behavior. We have to hold each other accountable, because it is no secret that the trust between cops and their community is broken. We have to do better.
*cackles* Here I am to ask a question I have already heard some stories about but know others following this AMA would DEFINITELY enjoy:

So! Please tell us, deputy sheriff, about some of the craziest (the good, the bad, the ugly) calls you’ve responded to! ;D
miarup wrote:
Katia wrote:
Ok, since you seem to be ok with it, judging from your response to Zelphyr, what do you think about the bad cop situation and the "good" cops covering for them?

I'm not implying that you are a bad cop btw, just that I don't think a cop can be considered good if they cover up for the rotten apples.

Again you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, it would just be interesting to hear a cop's perspective on the matter.

I do not mind answering this at all. Whenever a cop, or cops, ignore a colleague's blatant misconduct, we refer to this as the "blue wall of silence." It is never OK, and a cop should not look the other way if their partner is engaging in misconduct. I am not exactly sure what you are referring to when you say "bad cop situation," but if you want to elaborate, I can probably answer this a little better.

I can only speak from my experience within my current department, but we are told to always speak up if we see a coworker engaging in inappropriate or otherwise unjustified behavior. We have to hold each other accountable, because it is no secret that the trust between cops and their community is broken. We have to do better.

By bad cop situation, I mean the cases when a bad cop does something awful, but then gets away with it with no punishment or just a slap on the wrist. They don't seem to be fired/imprisoned nearly often enough. Essentially their "policing system" let down the cop's victims and the community they belong to. I mean how many shootings have there been of unarmed civilians and dog shootings. Heck they have even shot tiny dogs like chihuahuas.

Anyway I hope that your department continues to police itself well and can one day earn some trust back from the community you serve.


Also love your question emroidz. <3
miarup Topic Starter

Katia wrote:
miarup wrote:
Katia wrote:
Ok, since you seem to be ok with it, judging from your response to Zelphyr, what do you think about the bad cop situation and the "good" cops covering for them?

I'm not implying that you are a bad cop btw, just that I don't think a cop can be considered good if they cover up for the rotten apples.

Again you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, it would just be interesting to hear a cop's perspective on the matter.

I do not mind answering this at all. Whenever a cop, or cops, ignore a colleague's blatant misconduct, we refer to this as the "blue wall of silence." It is never OK, and a cop should not look the other way if their partner is engaging in misconduct. I am not exactly sure what you are referring to when you say "bad cop situation," but if you want to elaborate, I can probably answer this a little better.

I can only speak from my experience within my current department, but we are told to always speak up if we see a coworker engaging in inappropriate or otherwise unjustified behavior. We have to hold each other accountable, because it is no secret that the trust between cops and their community is broken. We have to do better.

By bad cop situation, I mean the cases when a bad cop does something awful, but then gets away with it with no punishment or just a slap on the wrist. They don't seem to be fired/imprisoned nearly often enough. Essentially their "policing system" let down the cop's victims and the community they belong to. I mean how many shootings have there been of unarmed civilians and dog shootings. Heck they have even shot tiny dogs like chihuahuas.

Anyway I hope that your department continues to police itself well and can one day earn some trust back from the community you serve.


Also love your question emroidz. <3

There’s a lot more to officer involved shootings than what you see in the media. But that’s a different conversation entirely. If you ever want to chat about it, you are more than welcome to send me a PM. Thank you for your interest!

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