CRJ335 Laws of Evidence
Colorado State University Global
I have spent the last 2 years working in the legal and criminal justice field while completing my degree. Prior to my current position, I worked as the assistant to the Municipal Judge in my city. I worked closely with lawyers, police officers, probation supervisors and other law enforcement professionals. In my current position, I am an administrative assistant for the Case Management department at a level 3 correctional facility. Corrections is often treated as the proverbial ‘red-headed step child’ of the law enforcement world, and much of the community does not look favorably on those who work in corrections. When I first started, it did make things hard, but I have come to truly love my brothers and sisters in blue, and see them as the family I never knew I needed.
Working as an administrative assistant, I do get those ‘you aren’t really a law enforcement professional’ attitudes more than I would appreciate. I have the same training as the correctional officers. The difference between the officers and myself: I wear professional attire and I don’t carry cuffs, a tazer, a radio or OC spray. I interact with offenders on a daily basis without officers around so I’ve had to develop a new set of critical thinking skills. Administrative assistants solve problems, and in my position it seems like every other thing is a problem. In order for me to say on top of my mountainous workload in an environment where literally anything could, and does, happen I have to keep my thoughts in a logical, consistent and reasoned order (Cottrell, 2017). I always have to stay security minded, yet focused on getting my work done in a timely manner. I run multiple monthly reports, coordinate with other admins and other departments, assist officers and case managers with the job duties, as well as the warden and associate warden with pertinent information.
Because I deal with so many others, not just in my facility but in others across the state, my professional etiquette has to be on point. On top of working with all of upper management at my own facility, other facilities upper management reach out to me on occasion. The elements of professionalism that I have incorporated into my work life have earned me a reputation of being efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and a problem solver. I feel that it is important that I not pass judgement on my coworkers, and that I listen to what it is that they are coming to me for. I treat everyone fairly and with the respect that they deserve.
At my facility, I am a coordinator for a software program that the facility depends on, as well as a coordinator for the offender benefit assistance program that is about as straightforward as a rollercoaster. Because of how helpful everyone knows me to be, I get contacted a lot in regards to assistance with these programs. I do believe that communication is key, and ethics and morals are crucial in the professional world that I operate in. I strive to be dependable and reliable, almost to a fault, and I need no recognition for doing my job right.
When it comes to my weaknesses, I struggle with saying no. Everyone knows me to be very helpful, which has worked out in my favor but has also backfired on me. I have gotten better at telling some of my coworkers that I can’t help them at the moment, that I have my own workload to focus on, I still tell others that I will help them, which means that I have lightened their workload while increasing my own. Additionally, I sometimes get too comfortable and forget my professionalism while speaking in front of offenders. We are supposed to set examples and try to be a role model for the offenders to help them with rehabilitating, but every now and then I slip and say or do something that I really probably should have not done.
When I find myself slipping in my professionalism, that’s my queue to get back to work. Time management is forte; I have to plan out every minute of my day and organize all of my tasks in order to function properly. I get to work about an hour early every morning, figure out what I need to get done that day, which tasks are more important or time sensitive than others, and I make lists so that I can stay on track. I know that I will get interupted many times throughout the day so I try to make time for those interruptions as well. At the end of the day, if I haven’t gotten everything done, I don’t sweat it, I just tell myself it will be there tomorrow and then I do it all again the next day. I can’t let things get to me because I have big dreams and goals that I want to make a reality. I do the best I can everyday, which is as much as anyone can do.
Being able to think critically, solve problems, remain professional in tough situations and stay on top of your workload is important to being a great professional. Law enforcement is a crazy, hectic, stressful and amazing profession and having a grip on these aspects of professionalism is pretty much the only way you can get through it. It can take many years to learn or it can come to you naturally, but regardless of how it comes it needs to remain a part of everything you do.
Cottrell, S. (2017). Critical thinking skills: effective analysis, argument and reflection (3rd ed.). London: Red Globe Press.