Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Emily O’Connell

Emily O’Connell ’12, a psychology major focusing on forensic psychology, is working as a summer reserve officer for the Kennebunkport Police Department in Maine for the second consecutive year.

Star treatment: So many exciting things have happened in just one summer working as a police officer! One of the most exciting things has been providing security and crowd control for the filming of a Taylor Swift video and for former President George H.W. Bush and his family. The Bush compound is in Kennebunkport, which adds an extra dimension to policing when the family goes to events in town. Our police department gets to work with the Secret Service, also, which is unusual for a local department.

Tough job: Police work can be physically challenging (walking 26 miles in one shift during the heat of the summer), intellectually challenging (understanding the laws and actions that can be taken), and emotionally challenging (dealing with the public and the many harsh realities that can be exposed during police work).

True blue: The police department is almost like a family, we look out for each other on duty, but we also joke around with each other when the situation allows it. You do get made fun of a little bit, being the youngest, getting called ‘baby cop’ or ‘kindergarten cop.’

Future details: Wheaton has taught me to strive for excellence and given me important problem-solving skills that I’ve put to good use as a police officer. I’d like to continue working within the law enforcement field from a psychological perspective, whether in forensic psychology research, or as an officer within an organization such as the FBI.