The College of Applied Science and Technology’s “A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum” series is designed to shed some light on how CAST alumni spend their days. As with many careers, our alumni will tell you that every day is different, but this series aims to provide a peek into an alum’s world.

Department of Criminal Justice Sciences alum Heidi Begy ’09 has been a police officer with the village of Woodridge for about five years. Begy works in patrol, which means that she responds to emergency and nonemergency calls for service. Begy and her team typically respond to calls regarding criminal offenses, traffic crashes, alarm activation, disturbances, traffic complaints, and other miscellaneous events.

On patrol, it is important that Begy and her fellow officers maintain a high level of visibility in their beats. The village is split into sections and each officer is assigned a specific area to patrol, on a day-to-day basis. This high visibility helps to promote community relations and deter crime. In other words, patrol is the first point of contact for the community to the police department. Begy’s specialties include certification as a juvenile officer and gang enforcement specialist. Begy is also a liaison to one of the apartment complexes, and she keeps up with her required training, such as monthly law exams and range shoots.

Begy’s shift rotates from days (6 a.m.–6 p.m,) to nights (6 p.m.–6 a.m.) and can be affected by seasons, schools, and other events. Here’s an idea of what a typical day shift might entail:

5:30–5:45 a.m. Arrive at the police department, get dressed in uniform and gear, and relieve the prior shift.

6–6:15 a.m. Review pertinent information from prior shifts and receive assignments

6:15–6:30 a.m. Check out equipment (Taser, AED, beat phone, etc.) and set up my squad for the day.

6:30–7:45 a.m. Get coffee (very important!), read emails, and do an initial check of my beat.

7:45–8:30 a.m. Conduct school zone enforcement: monitoring traffic, crosswalks, etc.

9–10 a.m. Respond to a traffic accident. I speak to all involved parties, check for injuries, determine if a tow is needed, establish the cause of the accident, complete a driver’s information exchange, give drivers their paperwork, and cite the at-fault driver. Complete the traffic report.

10:15–10:45 a.m. Take a walk-in financial identity theft report. Complete the report and forward it to detectives.

11 a.m.–noon Take a lunch break, where I try to take my full hour, but usually have to break for a call!

12:30–1:30 p.m. Make a traffic stop and arrest. I run the registration of a vehicle and find that the driver is suspended. I initiate the stop and call for backup. The driver is positively identified and the driver’s license status is confirmed. The driver is arrested, taken back to the police department for booking/processing (photographs and fingerprints are taken). The driver is issued citations, given a court date, and released on an individual bond, where they sign instead of posting money for bail.

1:30–2 p.m. Complete the arrest report.

2:15–2:30 p.m. Grab afternoon coffee or a Monster energy drink—caffeine is clearly important!

2:45–3 p.m. Respond to a residence alarm call. I check the perimeter, ensure the residence is secured, and leave a notice for the resident.

3:30–3:45 p.m. Make a traffic stop for a speeding vehicle.

4:15–4:45 p.m. Drive through the apartment complexes, and get out and talk with people.

5–5:30 p.m. Complete a final check of my beat before wrapping up for the evening.

5:30–5:45 p.m. Gas up my squad, finish up any last minute emails or paperwork, and head in for 10-42 (off-duty).

5:45–6 p.m. Wrap up in the police department, put my gear in my locker, and head home!

Got an idea for a future “Day in the Life” story? Contact us!