Rachel is originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and started her law enforcement career working for the City of Rochester, New Hampshire. There she was exposed to the blistering cold weather that accompanied an LETR favorite event, Polar Plunges. Rachel said sometimes the weather would be negative ten degrees! “Back up North we did car washes too. I’ve been roped into Tip A Cops at Texas Roadhouse and Razzoo’s. I wished I could be involved in Penny Drives like the ones Irving puts on,” she said.
When Rachel moved to Texas, she continued pursuing law enforcement with the Corinth Police Department. This is where Rachel met Doug Ray, the Law Enforcement Torch Run’s Executive Director. Rachel said, “Doug Ray and Doug Sisk have been my two guys since I got into this. I am grateful for them disseminating information and promoting events.”
Who or what influenced you to join law enforcement? Did you have positive experiences with police prior to joining?
Rachel worked different jobs prior to law enforcement but constantly looked for avenues where she could serve others more regularly. She did not have a lot of positive interactions with law enforcement growing up because of her family’s circumstances and choices. She was blessed to have experiences where law enforcement explained what was going on and how she could avoid negative police encounters. “One officer said to me, one day it could be you, and I laughed. I wanted to contact people like me and steer them in a different direction like that officer did with me when I was younger,” she said. Rachel has ensured every agency she’s worked for has been a part of the Special Olympics.
What is your title? What does your day to day look like in your current role?
Officer Roberts worked in patrol for eleven years and recently shifted her responsibilities when she took the position as Neighborhood Resource Officer. “This position allows more time to be a part of LETR and other community activities. It was difficult to be active with LETR when I was on patrol because of time constraints. I wanted to support the positive aspects of law enforcement. The shift has been a big challenge, but I was able to go to the Spring games. I started my position in January. During COVID, the department has adjusted and temporarily put me back on patrol nights because a lot of activities have been put on hold."
"On my day to day, I make a lot of calls and write notes to our community members and athletes. The Neighborhood Resource Unit takes on more responsibilities than patrol would, like neighborhood parking enforcement programs, nuisance abatements, city ordinances, and activities that take a lot of relationship building and time. We get to pick our own schedule and everyone in the unit is a Certified Crime Specialist."
"A lot of the athletes I interact with are adults. I’ll find out that they have a game or activity, show up, and be their cheerleader for the day. They make my day better so I hope I can make their day better when I am around."
It’s no secret that public outcry about police brutality was common in 2020. How have protests changed the way your department engaged with the community?
Rachel told us, "We did have some protests here. Our Chief went out of his way to address what happened with protests and discussed the occurrences with protest leaders
. We maintain a really healthy commitment and communication level with our community. They're looking at officers that care about their communities and we have changed some of our outdated policies. I am hoping we can get together and change some more of those laws. The community came forward during this troubled time, and protests brought people out of their houses to talk to law enforcement. A lot of people were lacking education, so I always encourage people to join the Citizens Police Academy
"Protests were eye opening to me. It was good to hear from the community that they do not think we are like those guys. We don’t arrest bad people, we arrest people doing bad things. My goal is to change people’s perspectives of law enforcement. I like tough conversations because I like learning. It’s hard when you feel something is wrong and you want to change it too. I feel that passion."
"Honestly, I love this job! I love people, that's why I am in this job. I want to see people do great things even when they’ve made bad choices. I'm a super gregarious, friendly person so law enforcement has taught me about status issues that I didn’t know about prior to being in law enforcement."
What’s your favorite LETR memory?
"Overall, my favorite LETR events are the Award Ceremonies because I feel like I’m the winner of everything! All the athletes get awards, eat, and enjoy each other. I love them, it’s the party person in me!"
Do you have any advice and/or encouragement for SOTX athletes?
Rachel had a few words for our athletes, “You guys, I’ve missed you so much! If there’s anything you can do to make you happy (that’s legal) … DO IT! Things will be better and the next time we meet up and I look forward to the next time we get to do an event and spend time together.