What made you want to get into a career in Law Enforcement?
When I was a young teenager, I witnessed some of my family members make the wrong decisions and get themselves in trouble with the "law." I decided that I always wanted to be on the good side of the "law" by protecting the innocent, serving the community, and enforcing the law.
What concerns did your family and friends have with you becoming a police officer and did their concerns change after successful completion of your training?
In the beginning, my parents and my husband were very concerned for my safety. They said I was "too small" to be an officer and feared I would not be able to protect myself. After they saw the amount of training officers receive in the academy and in the field, they became relieved and were proud that I made it through.
Did you find it hard to compete with male officers during the academy and FTO program?
It was hard to compete with the male officers on a physical level in the academy, because they were stronger than me. I never gave up and I always tried my hardest and they respected me for that. As a female officer, you have to be able to take criticism because you are constantly compared to male officers.
How do you balance the scale between family life and shift work?
It took some adjustments in the beginning to work the graveyard shift, because I had always worked during the day. I had to get used to functioning on less sleep and try to figure out how to still take care of my family. Now, my husband and I have a good system and I prefer to work the graveyard shift. I get to put my kids to bed at night before I leave for work and I come home and sleep while they are at school. I'm home when they get home from school and they don't have to attend daycare.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation you could not handle because you were a female?
No, if anything being a female has helped me, because I've been able to talk my way out of several altercations.
Did you have any issues getting hired and how did you cope with the academy physical fitness requirements?
I have a clean background and I had worked at my previous job in a salon for nine years, so the background portion was easy. I struggled with the running portion of the physical fitness test and I had to take it two times before I was hired. Once I was hired, I began running every day to prepare for the academy. The academy is physically demanding, but I pushed myself and never gave up and was able to make it through.
What do you feel you bring to Mesa PD because of being a female officer?
I feel that I am a compassionate, knowledgeable, and well-trained officer. I love my job and I remain optimistic even when I hit bumps in the road.
Do you feel that Mesa PD is a diversified department and should the department seek harder to hire more female officers?
I feel that Mesa PD is diversified. I believe the department would hire more female officers if they had good candidates to choose from.
Give one example of a situation where being a female officer helped defuse the situation?
In one particular situation, a male officer was speaking to a male subject that was being investigated as the suspect of assault. The male subject was disrespectful to the male officer and would not answer his questions. I was able to calm down the subject by asking him about his wife and kids. After a short conversation about his family, the male remained calm and I was able to question him regarding the assault. The male officer later told me he had asked the subject about his wife and kids in attempt to calm him, but the subject told him it was none of his business. I believe that because I am female, the subject was able to speak to me about his family, which calmed him down.
What is your most memorable experience as a police officer?
I have encountered many memorable experiences as an officer, but one of my most memorable was about four months ago when I located a ten-year old mentally challenged girl outside of a convenience store. It was approximately three in the morning and it was freezing outside. She was wearing only a shirt with no socks or shoes. Her shirt was soaking wet and her lips were blue. She was not able to speak and she could not show us where she lived. There were no reports of missing children at that time. I took the girl to the police station to get her warm and I prayed that her parents would soon realize she was gone and call the police. I tried to communicate with the girl, but the only reaction I could get from her was if I gave her candy she would laugh. I gave her lots of candy and she laughed. She eventually fell asleep in the chair next to me. A few hours later, when her family realized she was missing they immediately called police and they were told their daughter was safe at the police station. Her dad came to pick her up and he had tears in his eyes as he thanked me for taking care of his daughter. This will always have a spot in my heart, because I think of how I would feel if one of my kids were missing.
Do you feel the department has been supportive in assisting you to reach your career goals?
The department is very goal oriented and offers many classes. I have been fortunate and been approved to take each training class I have requested. I also work with a Sergeant, who is my career advisor, and he helps me set goals to pursue in my career.
What advice would you give to women who want to become police officers?
Be prepared mentally and physically. Stay strong and optimistic and don't take criticism personally. Come to work each day and be the best you can be!
If you would like to contact Officer Schock, please send her an e-mail at Jodi.Schock@Mesaaz.gov.