The 2018 Eric J. Williams Scholarship Fund’s Essay Contest has been gaining traction as we have been receiving a lot of essay submissions from year-to-year. Each essay we receive is well-written and enjoyable to read, which often times makes it very difficult to choose a winner. However, two essays in particular from the 2018 contest were very close in terms of decision making, so this year we provided a “runner up” scholarship award in the amount of $500.00.

The winner of the runner up award is Brianna Henry, a full-time student from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Brianna’s essay submission can be read here:


After reading the prompt for this essay, I thought about it for many days. I wrote a list of pros and cons, and interviewed everyone I know that is involved in law enforcement. I listened to many stories and noticed that there were more positive experiences than negative ones. I also grew up with a grandfather that was a police officer and father that worked as a corrections officer and then as a case manager for inmates in a federal prison. Throughout my entire life, I have heard stories from my grandfather and my father about their experiences and how it has affected and shaped their personalities and lives. Being familiar with law enforcement and those involved has given me a positive outlook on the topic and a special appreciation for those involved.

At first thought, I felt like I may try to dissuade my child from going into the field of law enforcement. It seems as though the field is becoming more and more dangerous and a lot of young people view law enforcement in a negative light and become aggressive when they encounter those that work in the field. It would be hard on me knowing that my child is encountering and dealing with dangerous people and situations all day everyday. The anxiety that would come with every phone call, wondering if your child has been injured or killed would be too much to bear. This thought alone started to sway me into saying that I would discourage my child’s decision.

After thinking about it more, my thoughts began to change. My father comes home from work everyday in a good mood because he loves what he does. He enjoys making a positive impact on the lives of the inmate’s that he works with. Whether it is answering their questions about God or giving advice when they ask him for it. He makes a difference in their lives and helps them change so that they have a better life when they are released back into society. These interactions have made my father more compassionate, patient, and understanding in every aspect of his lives. It has become easier for him to talk to people and he has become more outgoing. In turn, this has given him the opportunity to serve people in the community when they need advice or help in their daily lives. He has also become selfless and puts everyone above himself and has their best interests at heart. If he would not have been involved in law enforcement, he never would have developed these characteristics to the level that they are at.

When I considered both of these points, it helped me realize that I would fully support my child’s desire to be involved in law enforcement. While there are many cons, the pros outweigh them. Society needs more people that are passionate about law enforcement and will not treat criminals horribly or abuse their power. If my child wanted to work in law enforcement, I would be happy knowing that they have compassion for others and want to do everything they can to make people feel safe, protect citizens, and help those that need it. I would also be happy knowing that they will learn and develop many of the amazing characteristics that my father did from his employment.

While it may be scary knowing your child is out in dangerous situations, you have to support your child in everything that they do. Whether you support them or not, they are going to make their own decisions and pursue their dreams. The only thing to do is pray and put their life in God’s hands and trust that He will protect them daily and in every situation. Support your child, because God could be using them to impact lives and make changes. While law enforcement is one of the scariest and most dangerous fields, it has a huge impact on people and society. God uses everyone to make a difference, and those he chooses to work in the field are special, strong, and have many special gifts. “Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall be called the children of God.” -Matthew 5:9