As a college student I participated in a ride-along with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. I loved the interaction between the community and the deputies who worked on patrol. I quickly learned about volunteering as a reserve deputy, and went to the academy. However, my love for the work continued to grow, and I transferred to a full-time position as a road patrol deputy and later in Criminal Investigations.
While working full-time as a deputy and detective, I earned a doctorate degree and was hired by the University of Central Florida as a faculty member in Criminal Justice, where I continued to serve the OCSO as a reserve deputy. Today, I serve as the Reserve Chief Deputy for the OCSO, and work shoulder-to-shoulder with other volunteers from the community who serve as citizen law enforcement officers. I am routinely reminded of the professionalism and dedication of my colleagues as we work as volunteer police officers in our neighborhoods. Because of my experience as a deputy and my role at the university, I worked with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to create a specialized internship program for Criminal Justice majors at UCF that developed them for careers in law enforcement. One of my greatest professional joys is seeing these interns years later as they earn awards or promotions as deputy sheriffs and progress in their careers.
I have also been fortunate to be able to work with policing agencies and volunteer policing units from around the world, and have learned how similar the work of policing around the globe can be. The role of a police officer is one of the most stressful, exciting, boring, funny, grief-filled, and emotional jobs in society, but one that I very glad to have had the opportunity to participate in during my career.