We are proud to announce the winner of the 2016 Eric Williams Essay Contest is Alexa Friedoff, a junior criminal justice major. Alexa just completed an internship with Wilkes-Barre City Police Department and was accepted to Lackawanna College Police Academy for the ACT 120.
Alexa did not know Eric personally, but wanted to participate in the essay contest – not just for the scholarship, but for the opportunity to express her passion for law enforcement, and provide condolences to the Williams family for their great loss.
Here is an update from Alexa Friedhoff, King’s College ’17
“In 2016 I was awarded first place in the Eric Williams Essay Contest. I heard about the scholarship fund in my third year of college and I was a criminal justice major that always aspired to be a police officer, but ironically I began my career in law enforcement as a detention officer. I love my job and try to get out in the community as much as possible with fellow officers for community cleanups, “Shop with a Cop” events, and I am even writing a children’s book to educate children on law enforcements role in schools! When I started with the Sheriff’s Office I was told it was a direct supervision facility and I would be supervising up to 64 inmates in a housing unit by myself. I was extremely nervous but my agency was very supportive during pre-service. I look forward to going to work everyday and love where I’m at. I’m very fortunate to have received the scholarship and so am incredibly blessed to have met Eric’s dad and have him speak to a group of students at King’s over grassroots campaigns. Eric’s story is not my story but I carry his story with me on duty to avoid becoming complacent and to raise awareness in the community. I am very thankful to have been selected as a past recipient and hope students take advantage of this opportunity in the future!”
WHAT WILL I BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE TO MY PROFESSION
For as long as I could remember I have always wanted to be a Police Officer. The idea came at a young age but not how most people would imagine. I was in fourth grade when I went to school to find out my father had been in the newspaper for breaking into one of my classmate’s houses. I can remember being very young and witnessing my father being taken away by the police in handcuffs and missing out on over half of my life. My father was absent for more than half of my birthdays and my mother has been absent for six. My father was addicted to Heroin, a very dangerous and powerful drug. He was an alcoholic as was my mother and I learned at a very young age that law enforcement officials were there to keep me safe. Whether it was an officer bringing me to a relative’s house, or a probation officer knocking at the door and asking me if I was okay when I saw my parents leave with them I knew everything would be alright.
At fourteen my mother separated from my father but became heavily involved with drugs and the wrong guy. She cheated on my father while he was away in prison and I ended up staying with foster families for my sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school. Even at a younger age I was being placed with foster families for the weekends as temporary placements when my family was not able to take me in. My mother was in a domestic relationship with the guy she had been seeing and it only went downhill. My father and his brother (my uncle) are known very well by officers in New Jersey. I was twelve when my sister called the police in Newton New Jersey because my mother wanted me to get in the car while she was intoxicated. As soon as my sister gave our names to the officers they asked if Edward was my father and I shook my head yes. They asked if Michael was related to us and we said yes that is our uncle. The officers explained they knew them both very well as they end up in Sussex County Jail quite often.
A police officer is sworn to serve and protect, to do no further harm and that is exactly what I would like to do. I will be able to contribute honor, integrity, courage, perseverance, and heart to my profession as I have seen other officers do in order to keep me safe. I was separated from two of my half siblings at a very young age, my parents have abandoned me, but that does not matter. My parents may have lost to drugs and alcohol but I am willing to fight for every other kid out there who needs stability and courage. My family was destroyed by drugs and alcohol and I will do whatever it takes to keep other families out of harm’s way. What I can contribute to my profession is everything I have in a sense; lost. I had very positive experiences with law enforcement officials and this is my way of paying it back. By becoming a police officer I can respond to domestic calls where children could be in danger and I could reassure them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that every single person can overcome an awful lot. I want to be there for mothers who have been physically and verbally abused so they don’t have to lose sight of their children.
I cannot emphasize on what I can contribute to my profession as it is my dream job. When going for a job at target I could easily say it is for the money or experience, a more simple explanation could be given. When someone asks me why I want to be a police officer or what I can contribute I only choke up as this is everything I have been waiting for, a chance to save other people and give them a chance at life with their families.