KOKOMO, Ind. — Emily West lives her dream, serving Indiana University Kokomo as a full-time police officer.
A criminal justice major, she earned a jump-start on her career when she was selected as the campus’ first female cadet in 2013. She graduated from the IU Police Academy in August 2014, while also earning International Police Mountain Bike Association certification. She completed her degree in December 2014, and was immediately hired by the IU Police Department.
“My time as a cadet prepared me to be the best police officer I can be, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn the job while earning my degree,” said West, from Peru. “I look forward to giving back and serving on campus.”
IU Kokomo Police Chief Jerry Williams said serving as a cadet gave her an advantage when she graduated, because she’s already completed the police academy and is ready to begin work immediately.
"This program is a home run, not only for the IU Police Department, but for cadets and other police departments across the country," Williams said. "They help the police department by being an extra set of eyes and ears on campus, while earning money for college, and learning the skills of the trade to succeed in law enforcement. They will graduate with a degree, two years of experience, and the academy behind them. The cadets will be sought after by police departments because they can begin work immediately, without that department having to pay to send them to the academy."
She decided to be a police officer after a job shadowing experience with one of her criminal justice classes.
“I always knew I wanted to help people in my career, but I wasn’t sure how,” she said. “As a police officer, I get to do that on a daily basis. They say when you finally realize what you want to do, and what you are meant to do, you know. I have never been so sure of anything in my life.”
She gave up her place on the IU Kokomo volleyball team to accept the job as a cadet, and said her time on the team prepared her for the physical demands.
"I was a college athlete for two years," she said. "I'm physically active every day, and I train hard. What the cadet program offers to students is really unbeatable. This really is my future, starting here and now. "
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.