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Criminal Justice Articles

There Is a Lot More to Police Work than Just Arrests Says Florida Sergeant

"Law enforcement is a team effort," says Sergeant Brenda Bowman Sizemore of the Havana Police Department in Havana, FL.

She has always enjoyed lots of support for her career, she adds. The first female sergeant in the history of her police department, Brenda is strongly involved in community awareness programs and is currently pursuing an MA in Criminal Justice at Keiser University, from which she will graduate in December.

"Law enforcement is like a big family," she says. "Everybody has a distinct role that they fulfill and everybody here has somebody to lean on."

Sergeant Sizemore didn't always want to be a police officer though. It was an interest that evolved naturally.

After having a daughter at the age of 15, Brenda spent 13 years running a cleaning service. Having to get a background check with a private investigator spurred her interest in private investigative work, but an internship later she realized that being a private investigator wasn't for her. A policeman friend, however, told her that she would make a good cop and encouraged her to pursue police work.

Brenda earned her AA and BA in Criminal Justice at Keiser University. She chose the school, she says, because of the small classes that allowed her to work around her cleaning schedule. She liked the close contact with instructors that knew her name. Going back to school after being out of the classroom for so long was definitely a transition, but the university helped her make the transition successfully. She says she was able to count on their support even when one of her children had an illness.

Sergeant Sizemore also recounts the fears she once had regarding presenting in court. A Keiser instructor made sure that she got over her fears by requiring her to present something to the class every day. Brenda admits that she didn't like it at the time, but she now appreciates his efforts when she has to speak to groups these days, which can be quite often.

Brenda started her law enforcement career as a reserve officer in Greensborough, FL. It was an all-volunteer force where officers had to purchase their own equipment, but she learned a lot under a knowledgeable female officer.

"There's a lot more to police work than just arrests," says Sergeant Sizemore. "It's about helping people and the community."

And help she does. When she's not completing paperwork or filing reports, Sergeant Sizemore is making community contacts. Her contributions to the community include working to raise alcohol, safety, and driver distraction awareness through local programs.

Ghost Out had local teens experience a simulated drunk driving car crash to bring home the message not to drink and drive. "Crash victims" were put on gurneys and in a hearse. Another program had drivers wear goggles that simulated one's vision after having a few drinks and go through an obstacle course. While at the time some thought they had driven just fine, the drivers were later surprised at the number of orange cones they had knocked over.

Brenda considers herself lucky to have always been able to count on the encouragement and support of her husband, children, the chief at Greensborough, the instructors at Keiser University, and her current police department.

For those who are considering a career in law enforcement, Sergeant Sizemore believes that "your education is what is going to set you apart. Law enforcement is getting more professional and they are looking for well educated people with specialized skills."

"Everybody has a different talent now and that's what makes a diverse police force so good," she says. "It's a team effort."

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