My new book Accused, is the first in the Pacific Coast Justice Series. The fictional main character is Carly Edwards and as the book opens she is still reeling from a divorce. Nick Anderson, her ex, is also a police officer. When I worked as a police officer, I saw a lot of marriages crumble and that was part of the reason I wanted to start the story at this point. The job seemed to take a toll on relationships whether the partners were both cops or one was a cop and the other wasn’t. And with fiction, I can take Carly and Nick’s situation and go anywhere I want with it.
While I saw a lot of divorce, I also saw a lot of successes. Today I’d like to share a brief interview with half of a successful police couple. I met Lisa and Tim when I was a rookie, they’d both been on a couple of years and were partners in a patrol car. They were both good, aggressive patrol officers and worked well as partners. It was a few years before they became marriage partners and by the time they did, their careers were moving right along and they no longer worked together in patrol. Fast forward to today after 15 years of marriage. They no longer work for the same department, Tim Jackman is now the Chief of Police for Santa Monica PD. Lisa Lopez still works for Long Beach PD and is a Commander. But they are still happily married and making it work with two demanding careers. I caught up with Lisa and asked her a few questions for this exchange:
Me: What are the challenges to being married to another officer, in your case a chief?
Lisa: The crazy schedule is the biggest challenge! Most weeks our work schedules are in complete contrast – it’s almost funny! The good news is – sometimes we are attending the same work event, which we have started considering a “date.” The next challenge would be all the people who ask me to pass a message to “the Chief”! I usually only remember a fraction of those messages.
Me: What are the benefits?
Lisa: For me, it is very fun to be married to someone with the same career – we share common goals, expectations, a love for rules, and a slightly warped sense of humor!
Me: Do you think women face more obstacles to a career in law enforcement or is the field level?
Lisa: From my perspective, the field is as level as women want to believe it is. Those who enter law enforcement looking for problems, will undoubtedly find them. Those who embrace the challenges of the job and appreciate that women offer different strengths than men in this very complex field will excel and enjoy themselves.
Me: If you had a daughter, would you want her to follow your footsteps?
Lisa: Absolutely! This is an honorable career, which exposes serious, hard-working women to tremendous opportunities. I am optimistic about my two 17 year old “borrowed daughters” of excellent friends, my two nieces, ages 11 and 7, and my brand new goddaughter! There may be a future police officer among them!
This is the second interview in a series, next up, a chat with Carly Edwards.