In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we thought we'd highlight one of the many courageous and inspiring female police officers we know. Meet Officer Taylor Carey.
After graduating from high school, the Colonie, NY native went on to Siena College thinking she might actually like to become a nurse. Throughout her time at Siena, though, she began taking civil service tests for every police agency in the area.
Ultimately graduating from Siena with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in criminal justice, Officer Carey was hired by a local agency and attended the Zone 5 Police Academy in 2015.
Read on to see what led her to a career in law enforcement, her advice for younger girls, and more.
What made you want to be a police officer?
"I have a real passion for serving others, so I went to one semester of nursing school and realized it wasn't for me. I had to figure out
a different career that involved serving others. After some soul searching, I decided that I wanted to become a police officer due to the many opportunities available in the area. My dad was also a police officer for over thirty years; I was able to see firsthand what a career in law enforcement was like and I credit him for giving me the push I needed to go in this direction."
What was it like being a woman during your training days?
"Overall training was pretty difficult—regardless if you were male or female. The academy is a really demanding six months of physical training, bookwork, and training in the field. Everyone receives the same training regardless of gender. Each day I made it a goal to have an open mind and a positive attitude. Ninety percent of the training is mental and you have to go into it knowing that you will give it your all no matter what. I continue to treat each day at work the same. My hard work ethic has been able to shine through, which I feel has earned the respect of my colleagues."
Who inspires you? And are there any women in particular in the industry you admire or like to learn from?
"My dad was my biggest inspiration. He had a great reputation and was an extremely hard worker. I hope to have a successful career like he did.
I was also inspired by both my academy counselor and a female instructor I had while attending the academy. My counselor was extremely tough on us, but she motivated me to work hard every single day. She was a great example of how women can do exactly what men can do—it all just depends on attitude and work ethic. One of the instructors I had while in the academy was a detective from the Albany Police Department. She was an amazing teacher and role model. I loved hearing about her different cases working with children and special victims. It inspired me to apply to become a D.A.R.E. instructor and SRO. I hope to ultimately be a JV investigator so that I can continue to work with children and special victims."
What do you want young women to know about becoming a police officer?
"I would say this is the best career in the world! It is so rewarding to be serving the community (especially the community I grew up and live in). Putting the uniform on every day is empowering and will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Each day is exciting and you never know what kind of calls you’ll go on or the people you meet. Most importantly, the impact you can have on people is profound.
Women offer a different skill set and perspective from men which makes them extremely valuable in this job. It is important to study hard in school and become physically fit if this a career somebody is serious about pursuing. Overall, this is a great career with many different opportunities for women to serve in varying roles from patrols, community services, training, traffic safety, investigations, and up through the ranks."
What do you love about your job? Any favorite stories you can share?
"As I mentioned before, I am currently a D.A.R.E. instructor and an SRO which means I do not work road patrols, but instead am in different schools each day. I absolutely love working with children and teaching them the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. It is so important for young people to know the facts and how to say no if they ever find themselves in situations where they are being peer pressured into something they normally wouldn’t do.
My favorite part of D.A.R.E. is our final project where the students are instructed to write a paper about things they learned in class and write a personal pledge to lead a drug- and alcohol-free life. It is amazing seeing what these children have learned from my classes and it literally fills my heart to read their pledges to live a healthy lifestyle.
Ultimately, I love that policing is exciting and not a desk job! Each day is different from the next and I like the unpredictability of it. I also love going out and talking to people and meeting members of the community, even if I’m meeting them on their worst day. It really is so satisfying to be able to help people. With the amount of negativity surrounding police officers lately, I love showing people that not all officers are the same and the vast majority of us really are good, hard-working people, that want to genuinely help others."
Thank you, Officer Carey, for all you do!