Rosita Smith and Jennifer Ross

Recorded March 6, 2021 Archived March 6, 2021 40:38 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: atl004384


Rosita Smith (67) interviews her friend Jennifer Ross (48) about Jennifer's career with the Decatur Police Department, from her beginnings in the academy to being promoted to Captain, and what she has learned from her experiences over the years.

Subject Log / Time Code

RS congratulates JR on her recent promotion to Captain in the Decatur Police Department. JR speaks about her father being a City of Atlanta Police Officer, and her mother making her a tiny police uniform as a child after she said she wanted to follow in his footsteps. JR shares memories of going into officer training after school and recalls being selected by the City of Decatur.
JR speaks about going into the police academy in Atlanta, which involves earning a certification. JR remembers the process of selecting which agencies she would apply to, including scheduling ride-alongs and interviews with different departments. JR reflects on being someone who speaks their mind, and says she needed to apply somewhere she could concentrate on being an officer, without the potential for harassment as a woman.
JR recalls being hired in advance of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, beginning to work without much training, and then entering the academy. JR remembers her first days released from the academy as a solo officer. JR remembers her first call on her own, responding to someone finding their mother dead.
JR shares her greatest joys and challenges in the role. JR says she finds joy in leaving people in a better place than she found them, and takes pride in changing peoples’ perceptions of law enforcement officers. JR speaks about becoming a mentor and self-defense instructor.
JR speaks about the job of being a police officer as inherently negative, because you are only called upon in times of distress, when things are out of control. JR notes that there is only so much you can do in that moment, and she feels cut down when the community complains.
JR reflects on the impact of her relationship with Mike Booker, the Police Chief of the Decatur Police Department. JR notes that Mike has always been a leader who pushes folks out of their comfort zone and isn’t afraid to try doing things differently. JR speaks about him motivating her to go out for the Captain position.
RS asks JR how the protests and media reporting have affected her and her role since “the Minneapolis Incident.” JR speaks about being referred to as a “white supremist” and “schoolyard bully” when she feels most of her colleagues just want to help others. JR says there is now a major shortage of people looking to get into her line of work for the right reasons.
JR shares how this role has allowed her to be a people-watcher and study human behavior. JR speaks about being an investigator for a decade and feeling that she encountered the same patterns with different people “over and over.” JR says many people she’s encountered just need to be sympathized with and listened to. JR speaks about people having told her “you’re the nicest police officer I’ve ever been arrested by” and speaks about her natural “bubbly” disposition.
RS asks JR what she wishes civilians better understood about folks in law enforcement. JR discusses the history of law enforcement officers in this past generation mostly coming out of the military, and compares it to training people who came out of college or other careers in this generation who don’t communicate in the same manner.
JR speaks about people having trouble coming into the role with a desire to make a difference, then realizing that the impact is not as large or immediate as they’d thought. JR speaks about hiring officers being the same as hiring someone for a job, in which people have different backgrounds and their own struggles. JR shares her concerns for what Police Abolition would look like and speaks about trauma affecting police officers work.
JR reflects on attending a Women’s Leadership summit and noticing how fewer women apply for executive-level positions because they’ve told themselves they’re not qualified. JR says many people applying for these roles are perfectionists and tell themselves they aren’t quite ready. JR speaks about being proud of her career thus far.
JR shares how she’d like to be remembered by her colleagues: as a genuine, compassionate, honest, hard worker who followed the rules.


  • Rosita Smith
  • Jennifer Ross

Venue / Recording Kit


StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:03 My name is Rosita Smith. I'm 67 years old today is Saturday, March 6th, 2021. I'm in Decatur Georgia interviewing my very dear friend Jennifer Ross.

00:21 Okay.

00:22 Jennifer

00:24 Hi, good morning. My name is Jennifer Ross. I am 48 years old and I am in currently in Decatur Georgia. Also, that can't be with my friend Rosita's face-to-face. And today is March 6th. 2021 with a decanter q7s is NASA's newest Captain. I know that you worked long and hard for that position, but I'm very interested in your career in law enforcement. So I'd like to begin by asking you who or what factors led to your decision to become a police officer.

01:06 So my father was actually a police officer for the City of Atlanta from the mid.

01:15 Mid to late 50s to the early 70s there in the city of Atlanta and he actually quit law enforcement as his career right before I was born but I was sort of born into what I would say is is a police family because I was consistently around all of his friends that he worked with all of the officers that he had worked with in Atlanta and their families. So that was kind of my my first family friends the kids that I played with all of his city of Atlanta Police Department family service fee.

01:56 Okay.

01:59 How old would you say the were you when you said this is it I'm going to become a police officer. My mom and dad told me and I of course don't have any memory of this but they said that is young as two years old. I told them that I was going to be a police officer and they thought it was cute and my mom even took a part one of my dad's old uniforms and made me a little uniform and they bought me one of those things that used to have in the 70s where you would go into the the store and you could get a little cardboard with a badge and the radio in the hands of Paul made out of plastic like the five-and-dime toys and they bought me that and I ran around playing cops and robbers and me. That's the story that they told me and when I know by the time I was probably in middle school age or High School

02:51 I that was something that was on my radar that I wanted to be a police officer. And when I decided to go to college, I was looking at the military or college when I decided to go to college I chose criminal justice because I wanted to be a police officer and I told my dad. Yes, this is what I'm going to do. And I think you know, they thought over the years that might change and I'm sure at some point, you know as a kid it did like it does for all children, but pretty steadily that was kind of my consistent answer is that I was going to be a police officer of the year ago on you decide to become an officer you and you apply. What do you recall most about those years? What do you recall most about the selection process and the officer training were there many women in your class.

03:43 Well, I had this idea in my head that I needed to have my college degree in my hands before I applied and I didn't have anybody really in my life to guide me at the how to go about this. You should actually apply before you graduate because it's such a long process. So I had my degree in hand and then I started applying and then it took me two years did go through the process of choosing you applying cuz I only apply to a certain select group of agencies that I had researched and I

04:19 I didn't know it was going to take that long. And so I ended up going back to school and started working on a master's degree. I started taking classes in American Sign Language at a local community college. I was just I felt like I had got to the point where I was ready to get into my career. I was super excited and then I was just stalled out for close to two years. So I had wanted to go to work for the Fulton County Police Department. That was what my heart was settling because that's where I interned for my degree through Georgia State University and they were they were in this thing at the time were they were having to hire they were hiring based on trying to bring a certain number of basically demographics in they were trying to X number of women X number of black officers black female officers black male officers and at the time that I was ready to apply that I remember being told you're going to have to wait because we we've got to hire some other folks before

05:19 We can get around the hiring you and after I waited a. Of time, I went ahead and apply to chew other agencies that I was interested in and where I ended up city of Decatur was the agency that called me first. So I got I got hired on by the city of Decatur. I was going to say then I called and said they were ready and I are you in hindsight heading in a work on this end of the hiring process. Now, I don't even know how much truth and validity there was to what was being told to me because I was just speaking to people that I had become acquainted with through my internship, you know.

06:00 In hindsight, is it what they were telling me and what I believed was crazy about how they were hiring based on X number of male-female or are based on race because I've been on the other end of the hiring process and that just sounds it certainly now but I did get hired by the city of Decatur and then I got sent to the police academy. That's that's the next step to be getting certified. A lot of folks don't understand that you have to be a police officer in the state of Georgia is a certification. You can't work as a police officer unless you are certified that you're mandated as certification in order to have arrest powers and to be able to do the job. So the next step is the police academy about researching different agencies. I'm curious to know what were you looking for in your research make your decision in my situation was a little different from a lot of the other students that I was graduating with that we're also getting criminal justice degrees for the purposes of working.

07:00 You know the hope of working in law enforcement. A lot of them didn't have a father that had worked in a police department. They didn't have that background and they were just applying to every agency that was taking applications. They just wanted a job. They didn't understand the difference between police department and Sheriff's departments County Police Department's versus Municipal City department and having grown up around police officers in my whole life. I knew those differences and I had spent a lot of time my last two years in college anytime we would have another assignment that would offer the opportunity to go interview someone at a police department or go on a ride-along or any contact like that. I would take those assignments and schedule Ride Along songs are scheduling interviews with but a lot of different types of agencies, and I tried, you know, I look at rural. I looked at you know in town. I look at Sheriff's Department because I was looking for

08:03 You are my father head and guided me enough. He didn't want me to work for the Atlanta Police Department. That's where he at work. And he just he said I don't want you working for APD and I hadn't had enough contact with the current officers and did ride along that. I saw issues that I didn't want any part of I'm kind of known for speaking my mind and not being quiet when I think something is wrong and my dad's concerned for me was that I was going to end up in some situation if I went to the wrong agency where I was it was going to be a whole whistleblower he knew that I was wired that way so he wanted me to research and find a place where I where I wasn't just getting the job to get the job at where I was applying where I wanted to apply and I I felt comfortable apply Nair in that I could concentrate on

08:54 Being an officer and getting into my career and not get caught up in you know, it being an issue around being a female or anything like that because at that time and you're more and more women coming into law enforcement in their head ever been but there were still in a lot of stories that I was hearing from women at police departments that just blew my mind because we were when I was the 1990s at that point and it just it was I didn't want to worry about that. I wanted to do the job that so that was where my research led me to the city of Decatur. There was a lot of female officers there was

09:36 You know, it felt right if it is alright.

09:41 What do you recall about the selection process and later the training and where they're many women when you went through the training do in the selection process it it's slow going until you get to the and you feel like there are never going to call you back and that's because the background investigation takes the longest when you were being hired by any law enforcement agency, you put an application you go through interviews and then you still out but this 35-page packet and they start delving into you know, every piece of your background that they can and that takes time for the investigators to do so your sitting around waiting and waiting and waiting and then all of a sudden it happened very fast, once you get the call back that's complete and you start going for your medical exam and drug testing and all that. It comes extremely fast and then the next thing you know, you're at work, so

10:34 I was hired by the city of Decatur with another female officer. So we came in at the same time and we were hired right when the Olympics were coming to Atlanta and we learned later that we were actually hired because the Olympics were coming. They had bumped up the number of officers for the department and we were the two that were hired at the the two additional position. So we didn't go to the academy immediately. They wanted us to work in this some kind of like a greeting location in Downtown Decatur for the Olympics cuz we have the processing center for all the US athletes. We house a couple of delegations that was a lot of activity and what was really funny to the two of us at the time was that we were in there were people were asking us questions and directions and we had worked there for less than a week and we had no answers. We were just two two young women sitting at the sitting at this.

11:34 Counter and people would ask us wait how to get into the MARTA station or where was a certain building and we were like, hold on. Let me go ask somebody else so

11:44 That's what we did. Right right at the beginning before we left to go to the academy when we got to the academy that there was a mean obviously there was more men but that I would call probably five or six female officers. We are a small agency. So we don't have our own Academy like a very large agent. See you again Atlanta or DeKalb would so you were we were in The Academy with officers coming from a lot of different agencies, but, you know, probably 10 or 12 different agencies. And so there was just a little bit of everybody in in my Academy class. As far is a day's wise where they were in their career. Some of them are retired and starting second careers telling them were very young 21 years old still living at home with Mom and Dad. Some of them are fresh out of the military. Some folks were just changing careers. It was it was an interesting mix and agencies to

12:42 After the training with your Academy, what do you recall about your first days as an officer certified official officer the actual first if I like the one that sticks in my mind the first if it was the first day, I was released out of field training to either when you come out of the academy in your certified. You're not released to just go out on your own as an officer your place with a field training officer and you're with them for a minimum of 12 weeks and they you go everything you do every with everything that you the way that you write a report the way that you get in and out of the car which hand you hold your flashlight in all of your officer. Safety how you speak to someone how to do the paperwork how to effect a rest how you take all the things that you learned in the academy and you start applying in but you can't do that just on your own. So everything that you do is graded everyday on a daily activity report how you drive, but you know, I mean literally everything.

13:42 That you do and so after doing that.

13:46 You are you get ruin your finally released as a fellow officer that day sticks out in my mind because I remember like the first call that I had when I get in the car and I drive off to the call on my own. I'm the only one in the car. I don't have a training officer sitting next to me to my Touchstone. If I don't know what to do was a where someone had died someone came to their mother's apartment and cuz I couldn't get in touch with her in and they found her dead on the floor outside of the bathroom and

14:25 It was it was sad and you know another officer came to back me up. But I remember the son of the woman being.

14:34 As distraught as anyone would be and he had seen her and she was nude and he was you no screaming and crying and he was a very large man and I remember him, you know powering over me and he seemingly very aggressive out of anger and he had kind of reached for him and he just crumbled is gigantic. I just kind of crumbled and and started crying and

15:01 I think I just had this moment where that could have gone very differently when you have someone trying to push past an officer fresh out of the academy and and I had a certain sense of alarm. It is this guy so upset that he's going to you know, get physical with me, but I was just able to diffuse it by

15:20 Being empathetic to the situation just being a pathetic. You're not what we're going to take care of her going to make sure she's okay. I'm going to shut the door. So nobody sees your mom in this state don't stand here and look cuz we had to wait for the medical examiner's office in an investigator to make sure that this was natural and it's something hadn't had happened to her. So that's that sticks out in my mind a lot. What have been your greatest Joys and challenges in law enforcement as you progress through the ranks Joys and challenges. So, you know for me, it's always been feeling like I

15:59 Left people in a better place than when I when I found them when I could changing people's minds or opinions about law enforcement in general by the interaction that they had with me reaching a point in my career where I was no longer the person that went and found the veteran officer and ask the questions that I one day. I just noticed when I was an investigator that officers are regularly coming to me to ask me. Hey, what are you doing? Or have you ever had this?

16:34 Being to a point where I started teaching teaching new officers teaching Community classes. I'm probably on the most rewarding and things I've ever done in my career has years ago. I became a self-defense instructor because I Wrong tired as an investigator of always being there when something bad happened and watching people feel powerless and not being able to assist them with that other than to work the case and possibly making a rest, but you still saw people.

17:09 Left very powerless. So I think that was that was very if that was very rewarding to me cuz I felt like I was being able to do something from the the other side of it other than just the suspect that robbed you.

17:23 And we're going to send you that he's in jail and he's going to go to court and you're going to still be terrified. You know, that that that type of thing I was able to do more for four people in a in a different kind of way challenges.

17:40 Job in and of itself. I mean, it's just that the whole piece to the job. It's it's steeped in the negative in this is what I would teach new officers and the public when I'm talking it in the very job of being a police officer is negative because people do not call you when they're having a good day and they can handle all of the things going on in their life. You are called to people's houses or businesses or in the street or wherever they may be because something is out of control because somebody's lost control or somebody's been victimized or somebody doesn't know what to do at Twin things have gone wrong and you you walk into a situation that has been deteriorating for who-knows-how-long and you're expected to try to handle that situation in and get people what they need in 15 or 20 minutes and and you can't and an over the years figuring out that there's only so much you can do in that moment that to help someone is yours.

18:40 Call the call to call you doing I just wanted to do what you can where you're at with what you have to leave people better in that moment, but I wasn't going to solve somebody's domestic history. I wasn't going to solve somebody's mental health history. And that that's that's a challenge. That's that's it's been hard to do. You never feel like you've done everything that needs to be done the job in and of itself, you know nights weekends holidays always understaffed. No matter what you do feeling like, you know, you care Community member screening for Weimar police to do this and we won our police to do that and are things that you're already doing and you're just it Cut You Down sometimes when when you're you got into this job because you felt like you could do a better job than those before you and you got into it for the right reasons and you're just lumped in because you have a uniform on and assumptions are made about you the second you

19:40 You step out of the car walk up to somebody's door and you know just the hours and the constants konstantinous of the job. You you can't really get away from and then you have to learn how to manage that and navigate it so that it doesn't make you better and make you angry all the time and in so stressed out that it did it affect how you respond to people. Is there a colleague or two that's had the greatest influence on your career thus far

20:11 I would say and it's tough to drill it down to just one but I do not talk about probably 10 to I'm going to specifically cuz it's it's Weighing on me right now. My my police chief Mike Booker who's the chief of the Decatur Police Department and has been for the last 15 years has had the greatest impact and influence on me because when I came to work there, he was a sergeant which is like a first-line supervisor and you know, I watched him become a lieutenant and then go in over the investor relations to being a deputy chief to moving into the Chiefs rolling.

20:52 I've just learned so much from him about.

20:58 Evolving in this career. I think I have watched him evolve as a person and as a leader and and change and a lot of people can't do that in this career. They stay very Steve damn that we've always done it this way and he's very much has been a leader in for me to always try to push me out of my comfort zone and it's not always fun. And I don't always enjoy it and I know you've been doing things this way, but we're going to pay that we're going to do things this way and you know, I talked to officers from other agencies that hear things like we've been required to read a book and Report out on it or look it up study or all of these extra things that we do and it was all out of a APUSH for him to make us not think that we we got to where we're at when I need to stay here. He is very very much taught me that that change is going to come and it needs to come and we need to evaluate and move and evolve and it's as I've moved up the ranks.

21:58 Motivated me to put myself out there and test for higher ranks. And you know, if you'd asked me 10 years ago if I would be had ever tested for Captain I would have said no absolutely not I don't want I do not want the headache. I do not want that liability or responsibility, but he really motivated me and he he he do to me. He's built an apartment where that's what he wants everybody to do is to not just sit where they're comfortable but to keep to keep going and it keep changing in it and to keep questioning practices and and to try different things.

22:33 Okay.

22:36 This has been a lot of unfortunately negative reporting about a police abuse is really around the country and I'd like to know how this negative reporting about. Your profession has affected you.

22:48 It's worse now than it's been it's ever been with this this past year with all of the the protests and things going on in 2020 that just where it exploded after the the Minneapolis incident and you know, we've gone through highs and lows with you know, how the public looks at law enforcement ever since I thought about even getting into the field. I mean, it's one of the reasons why I got into it with I felt like I'm a reasonable Fair even-keeled person and you know I care about people but I also

23:28 I don't like bullies and people who want to get over on other people in and steal and things like that. So I felt like I was a good fit and the hardest part has been when you get into this line of work for all of the right reasons wanting to do it the right way and you've worked so hard to change the things that you saw is wrong in a system and then you're automatically lumped into

23:53 You're just like everybody else, you know being referred automatically because of the back of a police officer is being a white supremacist or one that I read last night and an article. I was reading on Criminal Justice Reform regarding mental health about how we are all just a schoolyard bullies that grew up and this is the job that we got so we can push other people around you that is not in my experience at all.

24:22 Officers that I work with any others officers that work with where I thought this is not the job for you and they end up getting getting out of it because they just don't have the temperament for it, you know, so many of the officers when you drill it down to the to the core they got into this profession because they wanted to help people and they weren't looking to be sitting inside and desk job all day and they were you know comfortable being the helper so to speak so the impact overall is we have such a shortage now of people willing to get into this line of work. I'm on the I'm on the back end of my my career, but I worry about where we're going to be 5 years from now in 10 years from now when

25:07 People don't want to do this job. And especially when we had just gotten to a point where we were pulling more and more people into this job that wanted to do it for the right reason.

25:20 Okay. Okay. What lessons has being in law enforcement taught you about people because you've met all kinds of people. What is it taught you about people and human behavior. It's fun to watch and I'm a watcher and I I love you know, that's watching people and getting to know people is is

25:43 It's very enjoyable to me in and human behaviors is so interesting.

25:49 It's it's such a conflict because I've learned that a lot of human behavior is 100% predictable over and over and over again you you can see it in the end.

26:04 But then the one thing is is an officer that you have to always know in the back of your mind and be prepared for is that humans can be extremely unpredictable in certain moments when backed into a corner.

26:26 They are scared when they are in trouble adults turn into that. You can a lot of times adults when they're caught for doing something wrong and they knew that they know that they've done something wrong. They did the behavior in the responses identical to when you catch a four or five year old doing something that they knew that they shouldn't be doing was it me in the end and just go into this mode of of lie and deny that is super frustrating and I was an investigator or detective for 10 years. I did nothing but investigate crimes and it was you know, sad so many times but laughable how you just felt like you were in the same situation over and over and over again just with a different person.

27:16 And

27:20 The other thing I've learned is, you know, nearly everyone no matter what Walk of Life they come from and what their background is. They all want the same things. They want, you know some amount that any basic human needs and they want to be treated with you no kindness and respect and a lot of times people come to our doorstep so to speak or we end up on their doorstep because they haven't been heard about whatever the issue is and taking that time to to hear somebody even if you can't help them in that moment because the problem is just too too great. It it goes a long way to just be

28:01 Kind enough and empathetic enough to hear somebody and even when you have to arrest them to treat them as long as the situation calls for it you treat them.

28:12 You know like you would treat your mother or your grandmother if you were having to do the very same thing, and I've

28:20 I've had people tell me how you're the nicest police officer. I've ever been arrested by such an odd statement of somebody because I can and then and then when things go bad and your net with you no aggression and you have to go into that mode. That's then shocking the people cuz I was always a bubbly Smiley officer cuz that's who I am as a person. So when I had people that have known me for years see me in a fight or see me in a you do a physical conflict and having to yell at people and having to use tactics they get real star or they're like, oh I didn't know there was that side of you and like that's what we have to do when it comes to that that point I don't start there, but I can go there if I need to but you know a lot of times how you treat people.

29:06 Will dictate how it's going to come out on the back end, but then you also have to be prepared for that. Sometimes the situation is so bad. Nothing you do is going to help and the second you get out of your car. You're going to have to start fighting with someone. You don't want to do it you go for like $0 a hundred in a matter of seconds. And you have to teach yourself have to come had a come back down when that situations and control you started touching on this little bit earlier with the article that you had read about people who think the police officers are bullies excetera, but tell me a little more about what you wish civilians better understood about people who go into law enforcement.

29:50 So I think there's a history and I mean it and it's a true invalid history in this country behind, you know, this generation of officers that the vast majority of them came out of the military and went straight into policing and that's that's the norm. That's how my father ended up as an officer. He and a group of his buddies were coming out of the army after Korea and

30:16 They learn that APD had just lower the height requirement for officers cuz you used to have to be a think six foot and my dad was five 9 so they found out that that had been lowered in a group of shorter and it's decided to go apply for for Atlanta. And that's how a lot of officers that's the shoe they were they came right out of the military with straight into policing. Why can definitely see how that kind of laid the groundwork for?

30:45 You know how how policing was going for a couple of decades because you also have to remember in the military. They didn't didn't really do a good job in the past and I don't necessarily know they do it now but acclimating people from coming out Military into policing and I think the pipeline was there because policing is paramilitary. There's a uniform you have to follow standards and protocols or login operating procedure. So it's a very natural fit. It's a lot harder to take someone who came out of college. She was never had any type of

31:18 Each side like they know ROTC no scouts know anything that's very structured. It's a lot harder to train someone and get them to the academy and get them doing their jobs. And that's something that we had to deal with them. The last I do a lot more in the last decade bringing in new officers. We are we have officers when we give them an order that they don't know how to process being told that they have to do something. You know, you'll stay with my parents don't speak to me like that that they can't offer a moment where somebody's going to get hurt. I don't have time to talk to you about all the reasons why we're going to do things this way we can talk about it after work, but that's a that's a different week we started and in the last, you know, definitively decade pulling in more people.

32:05 In the law enforcement coming out of college backgrounds and coming out of other careers where they've they changed careers. You have a lot more people moving into law enforcement for that and and people who like me saw how things were more interested in the concept of law enforcement that didn't necessarily like all the things about it that said, you know what I can do a better job than this I can do this job and I can do it in in a way that is not

32:35 You know as in your face or or as aggressive, it's I can do that when it calls for it, but I don't have to stay there. I don't have to start, you know every day and every call.

32:48 Way up here. I can I can manage, you know people in a in a in a better. I think more Gentle Way most every officer that I've ever worked with has gotten into this line of work because they want to help people and they thought this was a noble profession and then some get into it and they realize

33:11 They're not going to make a difference stuck his huge huge difference that they thought they were going to make and they can't transition to understanding that a lot of times you're making little difference is along the way and that that that adds up in the end and they get frustrated and they they can't

33:31 I can't navigate how difficult and stressful of a job asses and like a home life and raising kids and and they leave but we were all just letting the public understand that police officers come from you. There's not a factory or a place that we grow them or build them. These are folks that come from the rest of society which means that we're dealing with all of this very same things that you're dealing with when you're trying to recruit people into your job and you know where you were or, you know, we're dealing with his officers that are dealing with cancer or a sick kid or a sick spouse or you know, all of the things that everybody else has to deal with those things are are here too. We just were 24/7. We are always know nights weekends holidays. That's that's where always here and

34:31 If you want to continue to have somebody that's going to show up when you have an emergency and you call 911.

34:39 We're going to have to find a middle ground on.

34:43 Demonizing the profession and reforming things about the criminal justice system. So that people want to still do this job. When you have people tell you I would never want my child to be an officer happens when there's no there's none of them left. And I know there are a lot of people in this country right now that saints that that police should the whole system should be abolished in there shouldn't be officers. I'm very concerned with what that would look like.

35:10 If we had nobody to deal with

35:14 You know at the end of day we have people that are predatory. We have people that hurt people and that's going to have to be

35:21 Managed in some kind of a way so...

35:26 We deal with the very same things that everybody else does and officers are not innately, you know.

35:33 Evil and get into this job for all these evil intentions. I do believe that if officers do not understand how to process what they deal with on a daily basis like the constant little little traumas that we see all day long that that does turn them into a very jaded, you know any fission and an unproblematic officer down. The road is a lot of those get out but some of them stay and we have to build it into this profession that you are raising. So to speak emotionally healthy officers and it's hard to do right now when you're hated it every at every turn that doesn't that doesn't help.

36:21 Is there anything you'd like to add a question? I didn't ask anything you'd like to add to your overall thoughts about your profession and or even your new role.

36:34 I found it interesting. When I attended the women's Leadership Institute a couple of years ago through the International Association of chiefs of police that that my Chiefs allow me allow me to attend that it was all females in supervisory or executive positions at police departments and something that they had spoke about that just resonated with me and that I took back in until the females that I work with at. My department was how many women not only in the police profession but other professions

37:07 Do not do for executive-level positions because they feel like they are not ready and they continuously sit on while I'm not ready. I haven't done a b or c whereas a lot of times men will say well I can do a b or c once I get there. I feel ready and trying to you know wasn't anything that I thought about it because probably fortunately because I don't work in an apartment where my being a female has ever been a problem for me. But I realize that that was absolutely true. I found myself holding off on test when male counterparts would test for hire, you know levels and I don't know what that we always want everything to be perfect. I think is part of it and I've moved into this role, you know having thought about that a lot and I went into testing for Captain a lot differently than I did testing for sergeant and Lieutenant with Wayne.

38:07 Confident in my ability because I had actually, you know, trying to get myself out of the mindset of I'm not ready. I'm not ready and I feel like I mean, I've been doing it a year and it's a very challenging year between Cove in and between all of the the civil unrest I feel like I've done a really good job and I vaccinated really well and then I'm over three divisions and all of the folks that I'm over, you know seem very happy for me to be there and and I feel like I've made you do positive changes and

38:44 I was never thought that I would have reached this level in my career, but I'm happy that I pushed myself to you. And I'm and I'm proud of the work. I've done so far my final question to you. How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?

39:04 Genuine and you know, it's a hard worker and I hear this from other people, you know that they they trust talking to me because they know I'm not they're not going to hear it from somebody else, but they also know that I don't been rules. I don't you know anybody that ever worked with me will tell you that I would never ever be one of those officers that would cover up anything because that's just that's not how I've ever operated and it's very comfortable with that, you know hard-working and compassionate for my my my co-workers and you know for the people that we're we're serving and that I've had her you do a positive attitude in a great amount of energy for this job even though the challenging days because I want all of us to

39:58 You know as happy as happy as we can be at work. I want us all to enjoy what we're doing because you do a better job and you feel better if you're able to even even during a rough stuff if you can you do be happy with one another and take care of each other and have each other's you know back so to speak, but that's that's how I would would would want them to remember me, but thank you so much for your time this afternoon chapter Jennifer Ross of the Decatur Police Department. Thank you and thank you Rosita.