It’s normal for family members and friends to have questions – and maybe even some concerns – about their loved one choosing a career in law enforcement. After all, though policing is a profession filled with purpose, it is not without a degree of risk and sacrifice.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is proud of its 1,700+ officers and the work they do. We’re also very grateful for the families and friends who support them in their journey. We understand this job isn’t just a personal choice for recruits and officers – it’s a family commitment, and we’re honored by yours.
“We believe that becoming a police officer involves the input, understanding and compassion of more than just the applicant,” says Officer and Recruiter Stephen Todd. “It also involves unwavering support from close friends and family.”
Now that your loved one has begun the journey to the badge, here are six things you can do to show your support during and beyond his or her time in CMPD’s Police Academy:
Talk to your recruit about his or her motivations.
For many recruits, becoming a police officer is a calling.
“Aspiring police officers have it in their heart to positively contribute to their community in some way, shape or form,” says Officer Todd. “Each person has been inspired by a different reason and they all believe they are working toward a greater good.”
If you haven’t already, make time to sit down with your loved one and get to know his or her “why.” Even if it’s not the path you would choose, do your best to listen without judgment, opinion or interruption.
Get familiar with the Academy’s schedule and requirements.
The four months your loved one will spend in the Academy will be intense. It’s a physically, mentally and emotionally demanding time that both tests recruits and fuels their growth.
Make note of things like the training schedule, testing calendar and other Academy-related requirements to minimize surprises and manage expectations around your recruit’s training commitments and time constraints.
Help your recruit study.
Recruits face a rigorous testing schedule during their 25 weeks at the Academy. In total, your loved one will sit for 35 topic tests and a four-hour state exam before graduation.
One of the best ways you can support your loved one – and spend time together – is to help him or her prepare for these tests and exams. How you choose to do this can be personalized to how your recruit learns best. Take a look at our study tips blog for some examples.
“Your involvement and encouragement can reinforce their learning,” says Officer and Recruiter Jessica Hall.
Offer an ear and emotional support.
Encourage open communication and offer comfort when your loved one needs it. Your support, even from a distance, can help your recruit stay on track toward his or her goal of becoming a police officer.
“It is not uncommon for us to see new officers become enthusiastic about their chosen profession when their family supports them every step of the way,” says Officer Todd.. “Encouraging them to consistently train and telling them that they are making others proud are profound methods of having them believe in themselves and why their work matters.”
Celebrate your recruit’s achievements.
Don’t underestimate how much your support can boost your loved one’s morale and motivation. Whether it’s a new physical training record or passing an exam, celebrate your recruit’s success and help cheer him or her on toward the next milestone.
Attend graduation week events.
“Having a strong support system from family and friends can make a significant difference in a recruit’s career and overall well-being,” says Officer Hall. “Your presence at graduation can mean a lot and show your unwavering support.”
In addition to the graduation ceremony, save the date for Family Day, where you’ll have the chance to tour the Academy, meet the recruitment and training teams and see demonstrations from the recruits, specialized units and more.