You see them on a call, in a restaurant or out in public. Some watch with excitement while others avoid eye contact at all costs, but what is it like for those serving on the front lines as law enforcement officers in Rowan County? As many of you know, I have been proudly serving with the Salisbury Police Department for 10 years, but our county is represented by several different agencies. I recently compiled a list of questions and asked friends from various agencies for their response. It is important to those of us in law enforcement to foster relationships with the civilians we serve. Here is a little bit of a closer look at what it is like to be a law enforcement officer in Rowan County.
Making a Positive Difference
“My favorite part of the job is actually seeing when I’ve made a positive difference,” says Richard Tester of the Granite Quarry Police Department.
I must agree that there is no greater satisfaction than crossing paths with someone that you have assisted and being able to see and hear the changes that have taken place in their lives since your encounter. I love getting emails and phone calls from civilians that are excited to share how their life has changed for the better, since what many would consider it to be the worst day of their life. In our line of work, you find yourself in discouraging situations so receiving positive updates are a great reminder of the differences you were able to make despite the turmoil during their time of need.
“I like the challenge. I search and hunt for people all the time. I also like meeting new people from all over the place,” says Randall Correll of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
As a law enforcement officer, there are never two days that look the same. Each day is a new and exciting challenge. Rowan County seems to draw individuals from all over the world. This makes the stories from each shift unique and sometimes very educational. There is no doubt that law enforcement is simultaneously an adrenaline packed and admirable career.
Misperceptions & Misunderstands
Just like any career, there are parts that employees do not enjoy. Unfortunately, when you work in public service, the perception of what you do and the reality of what you do are not always completely understood. Cops are put into situations where emotions are high and sometimes it is impossible to make all parties involved happy, but those who wear the uniform must remain calm and professional. There is nothing enjoyable about seeing people at their worst moment, sometimes dealing with things that cannot be comprehended.
Law Enforcement is a 24/7 operation. I must admit, the long and irregular hours can put a crimp on an officer’s lifestyle. Many birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions are spent protecting citizens instead of with our families. After working throughout the state with the SBI, I am fully aware that the citizens here do everything in their power to let law enforcement know they are loved, appreciated, and supported.
The uniform carries great responsibility. Some individuals see the uniform and immediately feel disgust or fear. Unfortunately, stereotypes portrayed in movies and on television, lead to a lot of misconceptions about cops. Most are compassionate, smart, and care about making a positive difference in their communities. We appreciate the opportunity to create a relationship and build trust with the citizens we serve. One of the most flattering parts of wearing the uniform is being able to brighten someone’s day with a wave, smile, handshake, or simply being told “thank you for keeping us safe”.
Walk A Mile in Their Shoes
Sometimes, in just one shift or on one call, this career forces you to experience every type of emotion imaginable. An officer may experience a complete tragedy on one call and then immediately be dispatched to open a car for someone who has locked themselves out. Many times, officers must suppress their emotions and personal opinions in order to remain professional and do their job. We are all human, just like those we protect.
Rowan County – The Ideal Place to Serve
“The thing I enjoy most about RoCo is that I feel like I get to work with some of the best people in law enforcement in the country,” says Tester.
“I like serving Rowan because it is home,” says Correll.
Rowan County is filled with an abundance of overqualified, highly dedicated officers that have chosen to invest their time and talent serving and protecting what we all call home. I have witnessed many officers, who have come from different parts of the state or country, be captivated by the unique feel Rowan County possesses. Some officers who have intended only to serve the county made Rowan their home base as well. RoCo is most definitely one of a kind!
Considering a Career in Law Enforcement?
“Be patient. It takes time to learn the job. Try not to take anything personally,” explains Tester.
When someone chooses to go into law enforcement, they complete their basic training and then begin the actual career training. Unlike many careers, the learning and training never ends. Each shift is considered on-the-job training because each situation is completely different. Be patient, do your best, and treat those you encounter with the respect you want to receive.
Ready for the Ride
One show that my family loves to watch is Live PD. This show is similar to the well-known show, Cops, however it follows along with multiple agencies as they perform their duties in real time. This show appeals to my two-year-old as well as my wife’s 91-year-old grandmother.
Fortunately, the City of Salisbury allows civilians to actually ride along with police officers as they perform their duties. This program is available for those 18 and older. You simply complete this application, sign a liability waiver, and wait for your adventure.
Be A Part of Something Greater
If you are someone who is up for a challenge, enjoys making a difference, meeting new people, and being connected to our community, I strongly encourage you to explore the career opportunities at the Salisbury Police Department or any of our local agencies. Rowan County is a wonderful place to live, work, and play.