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So, you want to be a police officer? Fort Worth Police discuss the process.

Three Fort Worth Police Officers pose with a group of students in a classroom

Three Fort Worth police officers came to campus to answer questions from students, faculty and staff about policing careers, their personal stories and safety techniques.

Dr. Cary Adkinson, associate professor of criminal justice, organized the event to help criminal justice majors looking to join the police force understand the realities of the career.

"Many of our criminal justice students express an interest in becoming police officers, so by giving them a chance to hear directly from people working in this field, they can have a more informed opinion about what police officers actually do and whether or not that line of work is right for them," Adkinson said.

Deputy Chief Roy Hudson and officers Chad Scroggins and Billy Graham discussed how they got into the police department, sharing similar experiences about how they wanted to be role models for the community.

"Even the application is hard," Scroggins said. "But if you know your purpose, know why you want to get into this profession, then hopefully it will give you some encouragement."

"You have to have a service mentality, a compassionate personality and be family-oriented," Hudson added. "Some of these things you're not prepared for before you get here, especially if you have a family. We're service-focused first. It's not about just throwing people in jail."

One student asked about how there might be a shift in having more female officers.

"It's about getting there and letting [women] know they are wanted — and they can do it," Graham said. "There's a lot of women out there that are doing the job really well. And so as we get more women, it will encourage others."

Scroggins also added that women have even become better at certain skills.

"It's getting to the point now where a lot of barriers for women are barriers that they put on themselves," Scroggins said. "As long as you have the mindset that you can go out there and do it, you can. Male, female — we just want the best in the league."

They expanded on how there are lots of skills, both physically and mentally, that people need to have to become an officer. The officers also told students to think about their appearance, social media, grades and more because it's something that is looked upon when applying.

Hudson even touched on how police are being portrayed in the media but encouraged students to think about the things they don't see.

"Most of us are doing the right thing. What the news doesn't focus on is the good things we do every day," said Hudson. "In our line of work, there's very little room for error. Unfortunately, we're asked to be police officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians — there's a lot of expectations put on us."

Adkinson echoed the importance of having a community that supports the police and having more insight into their everyday lives.

"We think this helps students, faculty and staff by giving them information about what it would be like to work in law enforcement, as well as helping them as citizens, to have a more realistic perspective about what police do and why it is so important for them to have the support of the public," Adkinson said.

Many students stayed to discuss becoming a police officer one-on-one with the officers, getting even more tips and tricks on getting into a career they are passionate about.

For more information about working in law enforcement and related careers, check out our criminal justice degree.

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