Officer Ana Perdomo was only recently presented her badge on March 14 of this year, when she stood before Everett’s City Council to swear her oath. Since then, she gracefully accepted a request from this reporter for an interview, to learn about what life as a new officer looks and feels like.
Officer Aaron Snell, who helped orchestrate the interview, explained that newly commissioned officers or student officers didn’t simply get dumped into the role the way TV dramas and Hollywood like to depict.
All new officers (except for State Patrol) attend the Washington State Academy Criminal Justice Training Commission. If you opt to join the Everett Police Department, you then spend five months slowly accruing knowledge relating the codes of the area while simultaneously participating in field training. The field training itself has several phases, which allows new officers to integrate fully into the role at a comfortable pace, eliminating any intimidating “sink or swim” mentalities that lack of detailed training could potentially cause.
Officer Perdomo explained that in her short stint thus far, each day had been different, but her schedule was slowly allowing her to access her skills gained in training. Besides her increasing interaction with the community at large, she was responding to theft reports and call ins, as well as assisting other officers in routine field work.
For Perdomo, joining the police force was a natural transition. She shared that she enjoyed her time serving in the Army Reserves, but “the Reserves didn’t fit” as well as she had hoped. This feeling of discomfiture came about as she realized that what she wanted to do was align herself in a position where that she could serve people and her community every day. At the time, she shared her realization with a then-Sergeant, who bridged the disconnect immediately. After a few ride-alongs the Sergeant arranged, Perdomo’s interest in pursuing law enforcement was cinched.
So, what next? Once you decide your ambition or heart lies with serving and protecting, what is the next logical step? For Perdomo, the next step evolved through careful planning and consideration, the follow-through to which lead her to the Everett Police Department. The EPD’s professional model of “integrity, professionalism and honor” as well as community-centric values aligned with her own, which made for a promising fit.
Perdomo shared that one of the things she appreciates the most is “addressing the crisis behind the crime,” such as the circumstances or psychology that lead to an individual resorting to crime as a problem-solving tool or as a survival technique. When joining the force, new recruits are taught to understand that underlying social issues – addiction, homelessness, undiagnosed mental health problems in marginalized populations – are addressed as part of the job.
She points out that it’s enjoyable to work with other officers who can make the distinction between helping people who need help, versus those whose actions require an arrest and perhaps a spell in the judicial system. “They’re actually very caring… They ask themselves, ‘if this is were someone in my family, how would I want them to be treated’,” as a model for providing service.”
Police work, in all its forms, presents varying challenges. If you think that being an officer may be the path for you, start with the website for the department here. It addresses generic Q&A you may have, and you can also check out the application process. If you’re looking to make a lateral move from a different region, incentives are also included.