Today’s #YOUAREGOVX member served at home and abroad. A US Marine and ultimately a SWAT team leader … Reed’s career of service spans decades. Let’s find out about his mission history:
From Marine to SWAT team leader.
My first career wasn’t challenging enough. I knew I wanted more. I’d always wanted to do something that could keep and hold my interest. I looked at my father, who served as a Marine, and my twin brother, who had just joined the Air Force at the time. And of course, my mother, who was a deputy sheriff. I saw them enjoy a sense of purpose in their careers, and that become my own inspiration.
I was stationed in Camp Hansen, with the 9th Engineers and within that two years, I was able to pick up E4. As part of a Fleet Assistance Program, I deployed to the Philippines for three months. Returning stateside, I was stationed at MCAS El Toro at the 3rd Marine Air Wing. I deployed with the 3rd to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, worked within that MOS, and also in base security with the Military Police.
I have memories of late evening scares of what we believed were incoming Iraqi SCUD missiles. Heart pounding moments where we’re all rushing to suit up in our MOP gear while sirens are blaring. People are running around swearing and scrambling, and then you hear the launches of American Patriot missiles to intercept the attack. Whether it was a false alarm, or if the Patriots did their job … it didn’t make those moments any less nerve-wracking.
Serving as part of a campaign gave me that sense of purposes I described earlier. There was a sense of pride, fulfillment, and accomplishment working with a team of like-minded individuals to achieve a common goal.
Shortly after Desert Storm I left the military with an honorable discharge. I enjoyed my time with the MPs, so after discharging, I started looking into Administration of Justice coursework at the local community college. I enrolled and began studying. During one of my patrol procedures classes, I went on a ride-along assignment, and that got me hooked. In October of ’92 I joined the 130th San Diego Police Academy and launched my career in law enforcement, where I worked for 12 years. I served with Rialto PD in Patrol, Patrol K9 Handling, FTO, SWAT, and finally a SWAT team leader.
Without a doubt, my role on SWAT was my most favorite role. I was particularly proud of having been selected for the team, especially since I was overcoming a knee injury. I just kept training and training until I could ensure a spot on the team. I passed the qualifications, and they chose me. SWAT is the elite team among law enforcement personnel. We not only assisted within our community, we helped our brothers and sisters along whose side we worked. The training and the work developed a camaraderie such as the one I enjoyed in the Marine Corps.
On service, and the role of law enforcement.
I think that law enforcement makes a considerable contribution to society on a daily basis. Police officers are an invaluable part of society. But incidents occur (like the recent controversy surrounding the death of Sandra Bland) that damage society’s ability to keep in perspective just how vulnerable we would be without law enforcement’s presence and contribution.
We need to get that perspective back. Perhaps there should be a more proactive approach to community involvement, or more community partnerships hosted by law enforcement professionals as a whole. Should we perhaps reevaluate officer’s behavioral health every three to five years? When you consider how federal law enforcement offices undergo background inquiries every five years, it’s interesting to make the comparison. I can’t claim to know the answer, but I can tell you that whatever side of the fence people reside on, there will continue to be some kind of controversy.
What I do know is that service is committing yourself to something greater than yourself. There’s privilege and honor in serving and walking down paths like these. We don’t do it for recognition; we do it because we have a calling to serve our families, our communities, and our country.