Walk a Mile

Ever heard the saying, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” I find this to be great advice to heed before jumping to conclusions, expressing quick judgments, remarks or opinions. Given the recent news of police-related incidents and the current atmosphere of distrust and suspicion of our officers, I found this quote particularly relevant. Indeed, none of us know what it is like to “walk a mile” in the shoes of those involved in these unfortunate confrontations.

With so much negative media towards CMPD officers and governmental officials, it seemed timely to highlight some of the good work being done in our community, specifically my recent positive and rewarding experience with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Citizen’s Police Academy. For those of us involved, it was a rewarding and educational glimpse of what it is like to walk in a police officer’s shoes.

The program afforded me the opportunity to really understanding the complex situations and danger that officers face and the split second decisions that are required. I walked away with a whole new perception and appreciation for law enforcement; but I had to put in the time and effort to achieve this understanding.

The classes are designed to educate the public on recruiting and training practices; as well as, practical application classes that highlight stressors of the job to include range time, mock police traffic stops and accompanying officers on patrol to answer real-world calls for service.

Let’s face it– there is no other career that holds the requirement of putting your life on the line while also enforcing laws, protecting property and citizens, being a counselor, negotiator, first responder, detective and liaison.

This is a career-field that carries not only a high level of stress but, the expectation of high morals, values, dedication, truthfulness and competency. Any mistake or misstep can be a matter of life or death at worst and at best met with the highest criticisms and repercussions.

Those that accept the challenges and requirements of this job deserve the respect of the communities that they serve and the very least that we can do in response is to educate ourselves before we pass judgment or simply give them the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best job possible under all circumstances.

So, I encourage you to lace up your shoes and explore the world of law enforcement FIRST HAND by either attending this academy or explore riding along with an officer for an afternoon!

To learn more about the Citizen’s academy you can check them out at the link below or email the new director, Officer Shaun Ward via email – sward1@cmpd.org or telephone at 704-432-1636.


To apply to participate in the Ride-Along Program you can explore here:


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