OPD officer looks to make impact
Editors note; this is part of an ongoing series into the lives of local police officers. The intention is to build a good line of communication between the officers and the public in light of recent headlines in cities across the nation.
A police officer’s job is filled with dangerous situations, but this never stopped Officer J. Goins from pursuing a career as a patrol officer for the Orange Police Department.
There were 134 police officers killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2014, according to the U.S Department of Justice.
There are close to 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States at all levels of government, which employ nearly 800,000 full-time law enforcement officers.In 1971, the FBI first started tracking a gender breakdown of police officers. Although the statistics are dated regarding policewomen, there are a little more than 100,000 female police officers in the United States. Women have made progress over the years. In 1971 women made up only 1.4 percent of all police officers. Today policewomen account for more than 13 percent of police officers, and they serve in all types and sizes of police agencies, in all ranks, in all kinds of work assignments, and in all parts of the country, according to information from the Uniform Crime Report.
Whatever the obstacle, the spunky “tom-boy” from Teague had her eye on some day wearing a police officer’s uniform and proudly wearing a badge. Goins has been with OPD for one year and works a 12 hour shift. She thinks about her family which is her motivation to do her part to make a positive impact on the community.
“I’ve always wanted to do it, ” Goins said of becoming an officer.
Goins’ favorite part of being a police officer is working patrol. As part of the job, Goins must make traffic stops. This process helps keep the streets safer from people driving at unsafe speeds and other violations such as reckless driving. But, there are also times when a traffic stop is more than just issuing a citation and can result in a bigger “find.” A traffic stop can also assist in locating an intoxicated driver, a person in possession of drugs or somebody with an outstanding warrant.
“Everyday is different and you never know what you are going to find, ” Goins said. ” We get to see a side of society most people didn’t even know existed.”
Goins responds to various types of calls throughout her shift. Some may be to take a report of a theft while others may be a wreck scene and a fatality is involved. After dealing with criminals, at the end of the day she reminds herself that it is only a small percentage of people who actually behave badly. Most people are upstanding citizens who want to feel they are safe either at their residence or out in public.
Her biggest reward is the look of relief on children’s faces when she has done her job to make a situation right again or maybe as simple as a smile and wave from a child who is excited to see a police officer. It also touches her heart when people stop and reach out to shake hands and thank her for her service.
“We all do this job to help people and we have to make sure society is safe,” Goins said. “We have families to go home to too.”
For Goins it is her husband and two-year-old son, Grant, which are the loves of her life. When she arrives home she takes a shower as if she was washing away all the troubles of the day. She tries to spend as much time with her son as she can. His young mind is on the quest for knowledge of the world around him. Goins admits she is in awe of her toddler and takes what she can get as far as moments shared. But as in all good things, they must come to an end and she must return to work.
For Goins, her superior officers, Capt. Keith Longlois and Lt. Eric Ellison, are both “great guys.”
“They both are a fantastic example of what an officer should be,” Goins said. “I aspire to be like them.”
Although being a female in the male dominated field of law enforcement, she feels like she is one of the guys, Goins said of her fellow officers.
“I am very lucky to have this group of brothers to work with everyday.”
Photo – Officer J. Goins, of the Orange Police Department, prepares to hit the streets of Orange in her patrol vehicle. Goins answers a variety of calls during her 12 hour shift. As a police officer she does what she can to make an impact on the community.