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Senior Spotlight: Inspired to protect and serve

Amanda Lincoln, a senior criminal justice major, wants to follow in her family's footsteps and has been taking steps toward becoming a law enforcement officer. Photo credit: Malik Payton

Jumping a five-foot wall and completing pushups and situps in under a minute aren’t tasks one must complete for a Chico State exam. However, it is what Amanda Lincoln does to prepare for her future career.

Lincoln, a senior criminal justice major, is in the process of pursuing a law enforcement career after graduation and following in the footsteps of her family.

“I chose to go into law enforcement because my father is retired from highway patrol,” Lincoln said. “My brother works back home in the Bay Area, and I worked with the police department throughout high school and the beginning of college. That’s the occupation I saw myself going toward, and I couldn’t really see myself anywhere else.”

In high school and college, Lincoln was a part of an explorer program, which is a branch of the Boy Scouts of America.

“You help the police officers with traffic stops at any events,” she said. “You’ll hold security sometimes with city events or festivals such as Fourth of July just to get your foot in the door.”

Even with this experience, it was her family history that made Lincoln realize she wanted to go into law enforcement.

Growing up is a little different with a parent in law enforcement, Lincoln said.

“It’s just the kind of mindset that they have that they’ll instill into you, and it’s kind of rare to find that anywhere else,” she said.

In law enforcement, the departments range from the sheriff’s office to city to highway patrol, and she would like to try various ones, she said.

“I want to do undercover work,” Lincoln said. “I want to be able to either go canine or do mounted posse, which is the horses that they have — just being somewhere where I can make a difference.”

The process to join law enforcement isn’t simple. There are many requirements that come with going to an academy, said Lincoln.

“Each department generally has different tests, but they all consist of POST standards,” she said. “POST is the standardized testing for law enforcement.”

The steps of the Peace Officer Standards and Training include:

· A written test.

· A physical test.

· An interview.

· Background checks, including drug testing, a polygraph, a psychological test and a medical test.

· An interview with the chief.

“After that interview is when they will give you a conditional offer,” she said. “That’s the process to get hired.”

In the criminal justice major, Lincoln has taken a lot of classes that revolve around law enforcement.

“One of the classes that really stuck was taught by Lt. Gonzalez with Chico PD,” she said. “It was Chico Police service and learning. So basically, she had you open your eyes and learn things about the career.”

Additionally, Chico State has prepared her for a career in law enforcement.

“Chico State is definitely a very sociable school and being able to talk to complete strangers is something that you need to have in law enforcement,” she said. “Being around the atmosphere of college students and around the community itself, you kind of get an eye and can play out scenarios of what would happen.”

As a senior, Lincoln realized how fast college goes by and it’s a little nerve-wracking, but it makes you appreciate the years that you’ve been here, she said.

“The four years that are spent here are going to be some of the best years, and they do go by really fast,” Lincoln said. “So just appreciate the time that you have because you will be in the real world soon enough.”

Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or at Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.

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