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Cowan loves being on police force

First Officer Dorothy Cowan has been in law enforcement for 26 years. Even though she has been in the career field for more than a quarter of a century, she never thought she would have chosen the job. However, she is glad she did.

“It’s all about the public and helping the public,” she said.

Although she loves her job, she said the long hours is the hardest thing to deal with. Cowan is a seasoned officer and has years of experience in several aspects of the field, but the constant long hours can be a lot sometimes.   

“I was on the street as a police officer for 10 years,” she said. “Then I was a juvenile detective for five years.”

After working with the youth for years, she knew she wanted to continue to work with children. Cowan serves as a school resource officer, and she said it provides her first-hand experience with local youth.

“It doesn’t matter where I see some of the students, they will always come up to me and say ‘Hi detective how are you?’” she said. “So, if they like you and feel comfortable around you, they are more likely to confide in you when something is wrong.”

She has now worked with Police Athletic/Activities League (PALS) for 15 years. The program has students from both the city and county schools.  She serves as the director of the after-school program and said it allows students to see police officers in a different light.

“It makes them more relaxed when they see a police officer,” she said. “We do play ball with them, go out of town with them and so they think of us as people and not just police officers.”

The students are now engaged in the “Hoops 2 Air” six-week program where they have the opportunity to create a drawing and painting. Cowan said another benefit of the PALS program is that is provides a positive way for the local children to stay busy.

“We have a summer enrichment program going on now and we have an after-school program when school starts back,” she said. “It’s always something for [the kids] to do.”

Cowan believes it is important that the community and law enforcement start to communicate better and working better together by getting to know one another. She said the common misconceptions and negative things about the police are often stemmed from not knowing the actual person wearing the uniform.

“I think the more [people] get to know you, on a personal level, they will talk to you and trust you more,” she said.