A day in the life of a police officer.

By: Tina Sissoko

Donal Antoine finally fulfilled his childhood dream of being a police officer, and he loves every aspect of it so far. To Antoine, being a police officer was the best decision he has ever made.

Antoine is originally from a little village in Haiti. His family moved to the United States when he was 15 years old. After working multiple customer service jobs, Antoine decided to join the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Before joining the Salt Lake City Police Department, Antoine’s mother, Claudine Baguette, did not agree to him being a part of a group that she says has earned a bad image from the media.

“I kept hearing a lot of talking on TV about these policemen killing innocent people, I don’t want Kozy to be a part of that, I didn’t want him being one of them,” she said, calling Antoine by his nickname.

Antoine also took the police brutality aspect into consideration before making his decision to join the SLCPD. To him, if everyone learned to respect a law officer and simply follow directions without being confrontational, there will not be as much tension between citizens and officers.

“Police officers actually are under a lot of risks throughout the day. We have to be in situations that we don’t know if we are going to come out of alive or dead. People need to understand that we are humans, too, and that we are trained to do a job and protect our communities,” Antoine said.

Antoine mentioned an article by Holly Campeau from the department of Sociology at the University of Toronto that stated, “Robert Reiner (1985) famously summarized the ‘core characteristics’ of police culture. These include descriptors such as conservative, mission-oriented, isolated, masculine, pessimistic and suspicious—and ideal type that has withstood the test of time. Within police studies more broadly, the ‘police culture’ concept is duly invoked to describe both an overarching occupational ethos (e.g. cop code of silence, ‘us versus them’ mentality and the thin blue line) and individual officer typologies (e.g. enforcers, optimists and dirty-harrys).”

When it comes to arresting someone or simply giving a person a ticket, Antoine said there is a lot more that goes into to making the decision as a police officer.

“Before being a police officer, I thought if you didn’t comply or if the officer wanted to prove a point, they can just take you in. Now I see the difference,” he said.

An example Antoine gave was the following: Let’s say someone was stopped for a traffic violation. The officer then takes the driver’s information such as a driver license. The officer then runs the person’s plate to see if the information matches. Antoine says it is somewhat of a “mini” background check.

If the officer sees that you have several traffic tickets, he or she can decide to give you another ticket or give you a simple warning. If the person has a warrant out for any reason, the officer can take the person into the station for processing. A person can also be detained if they are intoxicated, under the influence of any type of drug or if they are out-of-control in public.

Antoine does not plan to leave the Salt Lake City Police Department anytime soon. He would like to eventually move up from his police officer tittle. His ultimate goal is to be a crime investigator.

“I work with an amazing group of people. They are all resourceful, and we look out for one another; this is like a second family to me,” Antoine said. “We are here to protect the community.”

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