I used to be one of those aviator wearin', coffee drinkin', doughnut eatin' cops.
Remember in High School, when they made you take all those silly tests to see what you were most compatible for in regards to what you 'should' be when you grow up? It provided you your TOP 3 picks: Here were mine:
Law Enforcement Officer
I decided to go for dental hygiene. After graduating from NPHS in 2008, I attended Normandale Community College where I found out FAST that dental hygiene was NOT going to be for me. After sucking at math and science in High School, the last thing I wanted was to be further frustrated with more math and science. I also had to see the inside of mouths - and that was enough for me. It was disgusting.
On to the next option = Law Enforcement
I found out Normandale had a law enforcement program, but after my first ride-along with Scott County Sheriffs Office, I decided to attend Alexandria Technical & Community College since it was a one-stop-shop - academic & skills.
Well, little did I know, I'd would have to go through and pass a physical fitness test to get into the program. So, I failed the first time. I'll admit - I was not one bit in shape - I was over-weight and I absolutely hated working out - just wasn't my thing! I was determined to make it into the program. I trained for weeks - and it paid off. I was accepted into the program & I could not wait to begin my next adventure.
From 2009-2011, I lived in Alexandria attending ATCC's law enforcement program. We got to wear these really lovely brown uniforms & it was boot-camp like (but not that extreme). I excelled and loved every little bit of it. Their fitness program did me well - I lost over 70lbs in 3 months. I learned SOOO much.
In a nutshell, I'd rather be tased than gassed, and gassed over pepper-sprayed.
While finishing up my AAS LENF degree at ATCC, I found a position as a security officer at Canterbury Park for the summer of 2011. I had decided to go to Minnesota State University, Mankato to receive my BS LENF after graduation at ATCC. Everyone said you would have a better chance being hired by a department if you have 'more' education.
From 2011 - 2014, I attended MSU. I continued to work at Canterbury Park. I became a Reserve Deputy and volunteered with the Scott County Sheriffs Office. I did an internship with Le Sueur County Sheriffs Department, where I then received a part-time & then a full-time position as a 911-Telecommunications Dispatcher [I worked overnights] all while trying to plan a wedding. Crazy, right?! I have a lot to thank from the guys at LSCO - they are the ones who built me a back-bone & helped me study and pass the State's POST Board exam.
Did I tell you I failed the POST Board exam after graduating ATCC?
Turns out that even though you think you know everything and 'don't' need to study is a lie to yourself. Lesson learned.
But guess what?! When I passed the second time around - I was that much more grateful!
December 2014, I received an interview with Le Center Police Department and was hired on as a part-time police officer! Yes - patrol, not behind the desk! I was absolutely ecstatic!
Fun Fact: I was the first female officer hired within LCPD!
I LOVED working at the PD. I picked up shifts left and right. Days, overnights, holidays, doubles - you name it. I won't write up all the things I learned, or the things I've seen. But, I can tell you this - I should have wrote a book while I was at the PD. Mine would not be near as exciting and long as partners I worked with - but it would be enough. I think the majority of my career at LCPD consisted of hanging out with slobbery, lost pups and kitties. I was Le Center's 'animal control officer'.
Some stories I have are quite comical. Some very sad. Scary & happy.
I've been asked to remove a snake from underneath a deck (I passed on that one). I've seen motor vehicle accidents I have a hard time unseeing and unhearing of those involved. I've made arrests. I've been given a marble by a small child who said it would keep me safe. I've given hugs to & handshakes to those I've never met before. I've been given hugs in appreciation and thanks.
I enjoyed hanging out in the school, reading, talking & playing basketball with the students.
I did DARE for two years with a LSCO Deputy - and it was my favorite.
I participated in social events and gatherings within the city and county (Parades, Shop with a Cop Christmas Event & Lounge with Law Enforcement).
The brotherhood/sisterhood that all frontline workers (police, ems, firefighter, military, dispatch, corrections, etc.) have for one another is a REAL thing. They back each other 100%. They will be there for you in an instant. They weren't just my friends - they were (and still are) my family.
The Thin Blue Line is something very real.
Working in this field is not a job for everyone. It's tough - it's rough. There are situations they deal with that can not always been unseen or undone. You can never put yourself in their position - what they have seen, what they had to deal with, how they perceived it, how they felt.
They all have one goal - to return home, safe, at the end of each shift.
After having our daughter in 2018 - I had a hard time picking up shifts on the weekends, let alone on weeknights. I wanted to be home with her. I felt like I was missing out. I felt like I was letting my department and my partners down by not being able to put in the hours a part-time officer should be.
The world began to change - law enforcement personnel were being stalked, targeted and ambushed - killed.
I was threatened while on patrol.
I was threatened on social media.
I've been labeled.
I've felt the hate people had against police officers.
I retired from LCPD in the fall of 2019.
I loved being an officer, but I loved being a mama more.
I like to tell her my previous job was 'taking out the trash'.
I know I will never go back - but Law Enforcement will always hold a special place in my heart. It will always be a part of me. That being said, I have decided that from here on out, 5% of each profitable sessions proceeds held by C. Haugen Photography will be donated to The Frontline Foundation.
This was an amazing career & chapter in my life - it will never be forgotten.
So on to the next one: Photography.
I encourage you to read the below law enforcement narrative by Paul Harvey.
'A Policeman is a composite of what all men are, the mingling of a saint and sinner, dust and deity.
Gulled statistics wave the fan over the stinkers, underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are “new”. What they really mean is that they are exceptional, unusual, not commonplace.
Buried under the frost is the fact: Less than one-half of one percent of policemen misfit the uniform. That’s a better average than you’d find among clergy!
What is a policeman made of? He, of all men, is once the most needed and the most unwanted. He’s a strangely nameless creature who is “sir” to his face and “fuzz” to his back.
He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won. But…If the policeman is neat, he’s conceited; if he’s careless, he’s a bum. If he’s pleasant, he’s flirting; if not, he’s a grouch.
He must make an instant decision which would require months for a lawyer to make.
But…If he hurries, he’s careless; if he’s deliberate, he’s lazy. He must be first to an accident and infallible with his diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or expect to be sued.
The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run, and hit where it doesn’t hurt. He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without damaging his uniform and without being “brutal”. If you hit him, he’s a coward. If he hits you, he’s a bully.
A policeman must know everything-and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake.
A policeman must, from a single strand of hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon, and the criminal- and tell you where the criminal is hiding.
But…If he catches the criminal, he’s lucky; if he doesn’t, he’s a dunce. If he gets promoted, he has political pull; if he doesn’t, he’s a dullard. The policeman must chase a bum lead to a dead-end, stake out ten nights to tag one witness who saw it happen but refused to remember.
The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman.
And, of course, he’d have to be genius….For he will have to feed a family on a policeman’s salary.'