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by Peter Moskos

June 23, 2008

Ivy-League cops

I had a piece in the Princeton Alumni Weekly about my experiences as a police officer. Turns out I’m not the only Ivy-League cop out there. Here’s an excerpt from an email I received from a North Carolina police officer.

I thought I would take a bunch of crap for being an Ivy League guy - I try to keep it quiet as much as I can—but people eventually find out, and when they do, their first question is "why the hell are you here?" They assume since I could take my degree and go somewhere and make 6 figures, that must be what I would want to do. They are usually impressed that I would give up what their view of what a Princeton grad's life should be and be a cop the same as them. As you wrote, I try to work hard and go home safely to my wife and daughter every day, and it has definitely given me a real appreciation for what I have in life. I do hope to move up in the department, maybe even be chief one day, but for now I enjoy being a patrol officer. For me, it's so much better than sitting behind a desk or being in meetings or on conference calls.

I replied:
I got a lot of that "what the hell are you doing here?" too. But I had what was considered to be a good answer: "to write a book." Still I was very surprised by what I considered the lack of flack I got from fellow officers for being a Harvard grad student. I also wonder if I would have stayed a cop had I been in a better paying department and a more pleasant work area. Part of the job I loved. Dealing with the same shits on the same corner every day, however, grew tired very quickly.

I would take policing over a 9-5 desk job. But I'll take being a college professor over policing.

1 comment:

jeff said...

From what I have seen and heard you can do both pretty good.