Through television shows like “Cops” and cartoon characters like Chief Clarence Wiggum from The Simpsons, the life of a police officer is portrayed in a variety of ways – positive and negative. While we have a good idea about the reality of being a police officer, not much can be said about what happens behind the scenes.
Many of the Law Enforcement Liaisons (LEL) at Extra Duty Solutions are former police personnel. Citizens that Officers meet through circumstance become a driving force to help better the communities they serve. Paula Sauls, retired Greenville, NC Police Officer of nearly 25 years, shares an anecdote about what it was like for her as an Officer:
“Oftentimes, public eyes only see what officers do in an enforcement capacity. Most officers have so much heart for their community and the individuals they encounter - mentoring, coaching, giving, and providing for needs are all part of what goes on in the background. I've followed people from juvenile charges through prison, and now giving back to their community through troubled youth; severe domestic violence victims, who now know what a healthy relationship is, help teach others how to move forward. Most situations you follow don't have happy endings, but the ones who do, make everyone worth it.”
Similar to Sauls’ story, Mark Bruce, another LEL and retired Colonel of the Kansas Highway Patrol, opens up about Officers stepping in and serving their communities:
“As public servants, many law enforcement officers are committed to public service outside of the workplace. As vested members of a community they call home, oftentimes, they serve as youth sports coaches, church leaders, school board members, and members of community organizations.”
Ricky Braen, retired Brick, NJ Police Officer, and former Youth Sports Coach, is dedicated to serving others and explains that even through regular duty, extra duty, or “behind-the-scenes” activities, having first-hand knowledge is what drives him to bring help and services to departments across the country.
The perception of Officers is constantly changing, through the media or word-of-mouth, but the idea remains the same that behind closed doors, service and goodwill are still happening. It will continue to affect communities even if it is never reported, shared on a news station, or written about in the New York Times.
The one thing that Sauls, Bruce, and Braen have in common is the dedication and passion for law enforcement. Although each one is retired, they will continue to be examples of what it means to be a good person and using that good for the wellbeing of others. Their work goes beyond their service as Police Officers; their work at Extra Duty Solutions continues to help present-day Officers remember that the “behind-the-scenes” activities are important, even if you think no one is watching.