WASHINGTON - It is one of the most important and dangerous jobs out there – becoming a law enforcement officer. Officers are in high demand, especially here in Washington D.C.
They face dangers every day, and sometimes their working conditions can be unbearable. Even with that, we found some people are being drawn away from other professions in order to make a difference in keeping us all safe.
It is another hot summer day and the heat is already rising. So is the intensity of the physical training at the Metropolitan Police Academy. You would think the pushups and sprints would be the most difficult thing here, but preparing for the real world in the classroom is equally as trying as recruits jot down notes about active shooters and emergency vehicle stops.
Recruit officer Evan Douglas is at student at the academy. Last January, he was a teacher not far away at The SEED School of Washington D.C.
“I loved it,” he said. “I loved working with my kids. I taught seventh grade boys.”
Douglas grew up in the District. His life was enhanced by mentoring at a young age, so he wanted to give back in the classroom. But he also wanted to wear a badge and keep the streets safe.
“I come from a long family of law enforcement officers, so it's always been in my blood to want to get into law enforcement,” Douglas told us.
There are other similar stories here at the police academy. Many others like Douglas left their profession to join the police force. And it is not just for the young people. Some of these are recruits in their 30s, 40s and even 50s.
“My youngest recruit can be as young as 21 to as old as 53,” said D.C. Police Sgt. George O’Bryant.
He teaches at the academy and still works patrol.
“We talk about protesters, we talk about officers losing their lives, we talk about citizens losing their lives,” he said.
But Sgt. O'Bryant said mutual respect is lesson number one.
“Treat people how you want to be treated,” said O’Bryant. “If I train my officers – pretend you’re pulling your mother over. How would treat your mother on a traffic stop?”
It will not be long before Douglas puts the lessons he is learning in the classroom towards the work on the streets of D.C. However, he said he will continue to teach young people one important lesson about police officers.
“We aren’t all bad people and I want to show them that,” he said.