At the start of the pandemic, our city was hit hard. We saw a rise in unemployment, shops close and businesses boarded up. Homelessness is a huge issue here anyway, with housing costs being high, and the pandemic means people have less ability to dig themselves out of a hole.
In my district, on the West Side, we have all levels of society and a big disparity in incomes. There were huge line ups for food, people are hoarding toilet paper yet there are still bidding wars for $2m dollar houses.
You want fresh air, you want to go out, but no one is taking care of the parks. All the staff have been laid off, no one has mowed the grass for months – it’s like the Serengeti out there!
I got sick with the virus and was in isolation. I felt supported. My Chief called and asked if he could do anything for me or my family. Colleagues offered to drop off groceries or walk my dog, so I was well taken care of.
I’ve been a Police Officer for nearly 15 years. There’s no history of policing in my family, although my dad wanted to join in the 80s, but he wore glasses and, back then, you needed perfect vision and were basically hired on your height. Dad always talked about his policing ambitions and inspired me from an early age. I’ve actually got a careers book from 4th grade in which I nominated Police Officer as my future role. In fact, I actually had to cross out ‘Policeman’ and write Police Woman as it wasn’t even presented as an option.