Captain Demetria Faulkner-Welch has been a part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for more than 25 years. Today, she tells us what a typical day looks like, what the toughest part of her job is, how she deals with the recent negativity toward police officers and what inspires her. We are honored to introduce you to today’s FACE of Charlotte, Demetria Faulkner-Welch.
When did you decide you wanted to be part of the police department?
My last semester at Appalachian State University I had to complete an internship, and I did it with the Charlotte Police Department. I enjoyed the internship, but never thought that I would become a police officer. With reluctance, I applied with the department two years after I graduated from college, and I’m still here 25 years later. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day for the past 25 years brings a new challenge. My day will typically consist of a minimum of one meeting, reviewing numerous applicant files, returning phone calls and planning/approving recruiting events — that is on an easy day.
Did you know you wanted to be involved in the training and recruitment side of things? What helped you come to that conclusion?
In 1997 as an officer to the Training Academy as a In-Service Training Coordinator … that’s when my training/instructing background started. I was assigned there for three years before I got promoted to sergeant. I enjoyed the assignment and learned the administrative side of policing but never thought much about being re-assigned to the academy later in my career. In 2014 I was assigned back to the academy as the Training Director. In 2015, I became the Training and Recruitment Director. Now I’m solely over recruitment. I enjoy both roles, but it’s a huge responsibility.
What’s something you want civilians to keep in mind or know about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department?
We are human and do make mistakes.
What’s the toughest part of the job?
Being judged because of mistakes made by others who wear this uniform. Recent conversations with friends and them talking about their children being afraid of police officers has been the toughest part of this job. Of course I have a good rapport with their kids, but I don’t want them to be afraid of people that take the same oath that I took. This is an honorable job, and when we are performing our duties we have to always perform them in that manner.
Can you give us an example?
Serious crimes dealing with children or the elderly. Those are two populations that are often victimized. When I’ve investigated those crimes, I’ve always wondered how could someone be that evil. And I still don’t have an answer that explains that behavior.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Meeting people who are NOT like me is what I enjoy most about this job. I’m faced with situations that the average person would not even know exist in this city, and I have the opportunity to be a change agent. The most rewarding part of the job is when someone approaches you and tells you, “thanks for the work that you do.” Those few words can turn your worst day at work into one of your best days when someone just says thanks.
When you’re looking for recruits, what is the top quality you’re seeking?
We look for people with life experience who have integrity and who understand what community policing really means — they may not have any experience in this area, but they understand the philosophy and can be a good servant to the community.
There can often be negative feelings toward police departments. How do you train recruits to handle this? And how do you handle it yourself?
I’m not sure if this is something that we can train you to handle. You have to have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of this line of work. You also have to have the support of your family. These are things that we discuss during the application process and have steps in place for applicants to ride with another officer before they start the academy. This allows them to see firsthand what an officer does during an eight-hour work day and not what they may have seen an officer do on television.
I would love to say that I leave my work [when I am] at home, but that is not true. I will say that my support system (family) listens when I just need to talk and will give advice when I’m seeking it.
What inspires you?
My family — the sacrifices that my parents made to make sure that we (myself and two sisters) never wanted for anything growing up. They also stressed the importance of education and made sure that we were all college-educated, so that we were equipped academically to be competitive as African American females.
What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
My close friends would say I’m an introvert. I’m very reserved and not talkative when I’m not at work.
Is there a motto or mantra you live by?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:13
Best piece of advice?
There is nothing more rare or more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself. Don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being like everyone else.
How do you like to relax and unwind?
I enjoy having massages, facials and SHOPPING! These are the things that help me relieve my stress.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family or friends?
Thank you Demetria for all that you do to keep Charlotte safe. Also, thank you to Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for the beautiful pictures.
Read about more inspiring women in Charlotte — check out our FACES archives.
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