A Pasadena police car parked on campus might have instilled some fear into students on Tuesday afternoon. People might have thought a threat was ongoing, as others worried that drug dogs were roaming the school. While some minor tension grew for some, quite the opposite was happening during “Law Day” at Pasadena City College.
Several police divisions were sat in the quad to showcase the unique job opportunities that law enforcement provides. California Highway Patrol, Pasadena Police and Los Angeles Police were all out, showing that there were opportunities for everyone. From dispatchers, to people working back at the office, everyone has a chance to join law enforcement.
“It’s always great to come out here in the community and interact with people,” CHP officer Marissa Raya said. “The only time people see us is when we are at traffic collisions or writing tickets, so it’s great for everyone to see the other side of us. We want to build trust with the community.”
At around noon, the officers and students vacated the quad and gathered in the Harbeson Hall for a presentation by the Pasadena Police Department about the day-to-day life of a cop and how they are involved within the community. Lieutenant Sean Dawkins spoke more about the average day in his job, even about the mundane paperwork and routines everyone tends to overlook when wanting to become an officer.
Although Dawkins speech was more light-hearted in detail, that is not what most students wanted to hear. Many of them asked about videos of police brutality and when it is acceptable to use deadly force.
“Although it is a bit off topic, I’m glad that people are interested in this kind of stuff,” Dawkins said. “It is very tough building trust when the public only views videos of cops using excessive force, which in some cases, doesn’t tell the whole story. There are many factors that go into decision making, which is one of the more difficult parts about being a cop.”
One of Dawkins’ fellow officers, Kourtney Zilbert, touched on more of the community aspects of the job that so often get overlooked. She spoke about how they work with youth clubs, especially those in low-income families.
“I wear this uniform and stupid clip on tie because it’s required for the job,” Zilbert joked as she ripped off said tie. “In reality I love putting on a t-shirt and sweats to play a game of baseball or basketball with the community. I want to show them that we are their friends. To me, that is the most rewarding part of this job.”
As the event ended just after 1p.m. and students lingered around to ask follow up questions, one message was clearly sent to everyone in the room: law enforcement is here to serve our community in more ways than by just protecting us.