Why I Want to Be a Police Officer?

Anthony Giannola is a police officer for the Mansfield Police Department in Mansfield, Texas. He plans to retire with this department because it is a good place to work and they get issued the best equipment and have a growing city, which makes room for movement. Outside of work he enjoys hunting, fishing, or basically anything outdoors. He also has a Harley Davidson and Kawasaki Adventure bike, both of which he enjoys riding. He has a few close friends that he enjoys spending time with, as well as going to church and serving on Sundays when he can. He currently resides in Burleson, Texas, where he was raised.

In High School, Anthony had the opportunity to take three criminal justice classes. One his freshman year, one his sophomore year and one his junior year, all of which added on top of one another. The last criminal justice class he took during his junior year was an internship class. Instead of going to class, he got assigned to the Crowley Police Department, where he would report to every class period. For this internship, he was able to ride out with a police officer almost every single day, which taught him a lot about what officers do on a daily basis. While he was interning at the Police department, one of the officers started up the Explorer program, which is a program for youth from ages 14-21. It allows them to be a part of the police department, ride out, learn tactics, work events and basically do anything that a real police officer does, just not “for real.” The internship and explorer program is what got him really interested in law enforcement. He says he has “been hooked and loved it ever since.” Now he actually helps lead and advise his department’s Explorer Program in Mansfield, Texas. “It’s awesome to say that I was once an Explorer and now get to advise and do it from the other side.”

Anthony started his career in the criminal justice system at the young age of 19. He was a jailer for approximately four years in Arlington, Texas. He then chose to move to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to be closer to his family. After deciding to move back to Texas, he had the opportunity to work for the jail in Mansfield, Texas. The Mansfield jail had a contract with the Fort Worth Police Department. They housed and did intake on all of their arrests and prisoners. This allowed him to work hand in hand with the U.S. Marshals, since they are the ones who do all of the transports of the prisoners from location to location. Working in the jail and having a good, hard working reputation allowed him to build good relationships with the Marshals, which later gave him the opportunity to get a job as a U.S. Marshal. Out of the two jobs, Anthony preferred being a U.S. Marshal. The reason being because it is the same certification as a police officer and it allowed him to do prisoner transports while also still working in the jail from time to time.

After becoming very bored of being a Marshal, Anthony decided to change his career path and become a police officer. He said that being a Marshal was a great learning experience but it was very repetitive work that did not take a lot of thinking. “I am the type of person that doesn’t like to sit still, so I am always going going going when I am at work.” Anthony explained. He enjoys being a patrol officer because it allows him to get out and do his own thing without being tied to only one specific task at hand.

Though having said all that, he explained that he would not have changed working in the jail or being a U.S. Marshal at all. Working in the jail taught him a tremendous amount about law enforcement and how to talk to people. Especially the people that want you dead, don’t like law enforcement, and people who don’t want to be in jail. It taught him how to deal with people who are intoxicated, on drugs, and who have mental health problems. It also taught him how to defend himself, search people, be aware of his surroundings, as well as use certain weapons on a daily basis which he kept on his duty belt. Everything he learned working in the jail carried over to when he became a Marshal, and then working the street as a police officer. “I can firmly say it gave me a head start when I went to the police academy.” he told me. He recommends working in a jail for a while when first beginning a career as a police officer, to learn how to talk to people, listen to people, and have patience. He explains that he would not change his experiences at all and he still volunteers to work in the jail to this day, if they need help or are short handed. He said “It’s where I started and I’ll never forget it.”

Anthony explained how the process of becoming a police officer takes months. You have to fill out a very detailed application. If that gets approved, then you have to pass a strict background check. Next is a drug test which has to come back clean. Then there is a psychological test, which normally takes four hours or so, and consists of roughly 500 questions. If you are deemed psychologically fit, you then take a polygraph (lie detector test). If you pass, you are interviewed in front of numerous police officers. If that goes well and they like you, you have an interview with the Chief of police. If he signs off on you, then you get the job. After you get the job, you have to go to the police academy. Anthony went to the Police academy and graduated in March, 2013. The academy he went to was approximately five months long. It was Monday through Friday, 7:45 until roughly 5:00 in the afternoon. During the academy, you complete firearms training, defensive tactics training, ground fighting, driving training as well as learn laws pertaining to what you’ll be enforcing. He explained that training varies from state to state and everything he learned pertained to Texas, since that is where he was becoming certified at. He also goes through annual training, as well as multiple training days throughout the year to further his knowledge and keep certain certifications he needs to remain in his job. He says that training is never ending and things are always evolving. Plus, it’s nice to stay on top of the game, especially due to the nature of the job and how little respect so many people have for police nowadays.

The most interesting call Anthony has ever been on was a pursuit he assisted his Sergeant in. It was at 2AM in the morning. They chased a van for approximately 30 miles, before the van drove into the woods and the driver bailed on foot. They chased after him on a pitch black golf course with a police helicopter overhead trying to tell them where to go. As another officer and Anthony got close to him, the driver fell into a creek and ended up shooting himself. After he shot himself, Anthony had to pull him from the creek and try and provide life saving efforts. It turned out the driver was wanted by the U.S Marshals, the ATF, and the FBI. He had numerous felony warrants and had been making homemade weapons and bombs. He actually had a partially made bomb in the back of the van he ran from them in, which they didn’t know about until after the fact.

Anthony works the night shift, so his day to day life isn’t normal at all. He usually gets up and goes to work around 7 PM. When he gets to work, he loads up his unit with all his gear and then changes into his uniform. He doesn’t wear his uniform home or take any of his gear home because he doesn’t want anyone outside of work to see that he is a cop, know where he lives, or follow him home and also because a lot of the people he comes into contact with are very gross, sick and don’t take care of themselves. After he changes into his uniform, his briefing starts at 8 PM. They go over any new news or important stuff that’s going on, and things they need to look out for that night. After briefing, he goes on patrol and answers calls as necessary. If there aren’t a lot of calls, he makes traffic stops, where he looks for drugs, warrants or whatever else to put people who need to be in jail away.

When looking into a law enforcement career, Anthony advises that you go to your local agency and talk to an officer, do as much research, and get as much hands on training possible. He also encourages going on ride-alongs so you can see what an officer does on a daily basis. He said “Sadly, officers nowadays have a bad reputation because of what some of the public says and does. It’s also becoming harder and harder to police due to what’s said on TV, News, and sometimes it seems as if everyone is against you.”