Who will answer
the call to become police officers?
Angela Y. Davis
didn’t think twice about it. Following the fatal shooting of five Dallas police
officers last July, she enrolled in the Cedar Valley College Law Enforcement
Academy training program. Almost 10 months later, she’s set to graduate from
the academy on March 23.
“I would like to
be part of a movement of educating the public about the duties and fears of
police officers,” she said. “I feel I can relate to both lifestyles as a public
servant who is simply trying to return home safely to my family.”
In doing so, she
hopes to sidestep judgement and harassment and to find some common ground
between officers and the residents they serve.
are more alike than some would care to admit. I would like to help with the
problem instead of becoming the problem,“ she said.
July 7 attack, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who recently retired, called on
protesters to join DPD’s ranks and help resolve problems that led to police and
community discord. For Davis, 36, the shootings only steeled her resolve.
In spite of the
dangers, she was never discouraged from her goal to serve and protect her
community. She is counting on her experience in public service where she
already has worked as a jailer, clerk and – for a short period – volunteer
Dallas County firefighter and paramedic.
Davis said her
goal of becoming a police officer is a natural step as she comes closer to
possibly patrolling the Oak Cliff neighborhood where she grew up.
“I just love
public service, all forms of it. That’s where my heart is. I want to serve
others. I’ve looked at all forms of public safety. I’ve always thought there
are different ways of serving the public,“ she explained.
Davis worked for
the Dallas County Jail as a detention service officer. And, while living in
Arizona, she worked for the juvenile jail. She also has served stints as a
court clerk for the cities of Red Oak and DeSoto.
“A lot of people
have not had a chance to see both sides of public service,” Davis said.
“Basically, they don’t know what the other side is going through. The line of
communication has to be more open for the police and the community members they
serve. Mutual trust will come with interaction. That’s why we talk. Maybe a
better understanding will come about, and bridges and walls will be torn down.”
instructor, Lt. Mark Smith, said she has shown leadership and, for that, he has
named her “sergeant” of her class. The title is largely ceremonial, but it
makes Davis the “go-to person” among her peers, he said.
“Angela has done
very well in the academy up to this point, and she has taken her duties in that
role with the same professionalism I see in everything else she attempts,” said
Smith, director of the academy.
“I found a young
woman who I believe embodies modern-day police work and the call that we
receive to do this job,” Smith said. He describes Davis as disciplined, focused
anyone pursue police work?
Men and women
who want to become police officers face many challenges. Their character is
tested. That is part of the training in an atmosphere where law enforcement has
endured a searing and, some say deserved, public relations problem.
Police work is
not for everyone, Smith said. The training is rigorous: the stress, palpable.
“I have great
hopes for Angela,” said Smith. “She has a great attitude and always asks ‘How
can I do that better?’ Our job at the academy is to make them believe in law
enforcement. But we can’t put this (belief) in their hearts. They have to come
here with that. Not everyone can do this type of work.”
demonstrated skill in the physical stamina and mental demands of becoming an
her shooting technique, she is eager to ask questions. During a recent class,
she practiced her target stance in Smith’s office. “Am I leaning in?” she asked
Smith recently as she aimed a training pistol. Her feet were steadied, and her
nerves appeared calm. Her eyes never left the target.
trainees must master physical and tactical rigors in an environment that
mirrors what they will face on the job, Smith said.
Davis wants to
pair her police academy experience with her firefighter training to become an
investigator. “I am a problem solver,” she reiterated.
strength in her classroom studies and among her peers. She knows there is
a lot of stress in police work. She has heard the critics who complain that
officers too often rely on excessive force. And she has heard talk that
officers are tasked with solving too many social ills.
She hopes to be
among the officers who bridge that gap.
“We need to get
to know one another, and that brings about understanding,” Davis said. “We are
all human, and any one of us can have a stressful day. The trust will come with
interaction. Maybe a better understanding will come about, and barriers will be
receive her certificate when she graduates; last week, she took and passed the
required Texas Commission on Law Enforcement or TCOLE exam. "I have
successfully completed all academy and state requirements for a Basic Peace
Officer in the state of Texas," she said. Passing the test means Davis
will become a certified peace officer who is eligible to work for any city,
county or state law enforcement agency in the state.
“My family is
always asking, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ And, yes I’m very sure. This
is why I’m here,” declared Davis.
to Cedar Valley’s program, Eastfield College also offers basic peace officer
training. Both schools are licensed by the TCOLE. For more information,
visit Cedar Valley College’s Law Enforcement Academy or Eastfield
College’s Criminal Justice Training Center.
Angela Y. Davis