YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Monday began National Police Week, a time dedicated to honoring officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
It is also a time to show appreciation for those still serving the public daily.
The Youngstown Police Department is made up of many brave men and women.
Khadijah Whitfield has been an officer with YPD for a little over a year. She grew up on the South Side of the city and graduated from Youngstown State University’s Police Academy in December 2021, starting on the road in January 2022.
“When I first began, it was a little, I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming, but it was a lot to take in ’cause you learn so much different stuff. Every call is different; you don’t get the same thing at the same time,” she said.
Whitfield works the evening shift at YPD, and in the mornings, she works a side shift as a school resource officer at Youngstown City Schools. She is also a wife and a mother of five.
“They keep me going,” she said. “I work, go home, homework, daily mom stuff. I still gotta be a mom, even though I put this uniform on.”
She said the support of her husband helps her balance life as a mother and full-time officer. Still, the job can have its tough moments.
“I think the most challenging part is when you take calls and you try so hard to help someone, but even then, when you leave, you’re not too sure if you actually got through to that person or if you actually were able to get them into a better situation,” she said.
Whitfield said she enjoys serving the city she grew up in. Community support is one of the best parts of the job for her.
She didn’t always know she wanted to be an officer, but says she knew she wanted to go into the law enforcement field.
Her days typically consist of working at a school in the morning, then she spends her evenings out patrolling in the city.
“You never know what you’re walking into… Sometimes you’ll get the bare minimum… A lot of times, you don’t know what you’re going into. You just gotta be aware of your surroundings. You gotta be aware of where your backup is coming from, and just make sure you’re watching everything around you,” she said.
Whitfield says she loves what she does because it allows her to help others. She encourages anyone who may be thinking of going into the field to take the leap.
“If you truly like helping people, if you want to be active as far as getting guns and drugs and all that type of stuff off the street, and actually doing something for your community, or wherever you work at, I think it would be good,” she said.