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Whether on the clock or off, Mobile Police Department (MPD) Sgt. Jeremy March — winner of the 2021 Nappie Award for Best Police Officer — works to improve the relationship between communities and the police.
March, who now works in the office of strategic initiatives, has spent almost 24 years in law enforcement, though it wasn’t his initial career path. He worked six years as a civil/structural/architectural engineer, but a few ride-alongs in his brother-in-law’s cop car were enough for a career change.
“As a police officer, you see things in your career that most people don’t see in a lifetime,” March said.
Days on the job are never the same, he said, and you can never be sure of what you’ll deal with on any given day. He loves being in a position to help someone in a bad situation, even if he can only help a little bit.
Sometimes, people don’t want the help he is trying to give. They express a lot of negativity and don’t want to be consoled, though some do express their thanks later through letters, he said.
“I might not have made a difference in every situation, because I think that’s not a realistic view of law enforcement,” March said. “But to know that, just in certain situations, you’ve had a positive impact, even though they didn’t realize that at the time, you had a positive impact in someone’s life.”
Oftentimes, he is meeting people on one of the worst days of their lives, which can generate a lot of stress.
“It’s hard not to take it home,” March said. “Try your best to leave it at work … It doesn’t work out like that all the time.”
What does help, he said, is having hobbies. In his spare time, March works with his nonprofit, Cops for Kids, going to sporting events, birthday parties and on neighborhood bike rides to change perceptions of law enforcement and teach kids police aren’t the “bad guys.”
March can be seen dancing in Mardi Gras parades as well, which he started doing to show people the human side of policing. Recognition is not why he started Cops for Kids, but it’s one thing he’s certainly gained.
While on the job, March often goes to schools to visit troubled kids. With other professionals, he works to make sure these kids get back on the right track. When he’s off the clock, he’ll visit schools through Cops for Kids to congratulate children who do something good without asking.
He said he wants all the kids he interacts with to know their community cares about them.
“My heart is with these kids,” March said. “It’s always been that way.”
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