Niles Malvasia is a retired detective sergeant with multiple decades of experience in the police force. Once he joined the force, his dedication, knowledge, and abilities helped him move through the ranks rapidly. Regardless, his main priority throughout all of his promotions remained to be a loyal public servant and protect citizens. As a crown for many of his accomplishments, Niles Malvasia earned a Detective of the Year award in 2011. Currently, he spends a lot of time teaching people how to approach dangerous situations and stay safe.
What are some of the contemporary issues happening in the country that worry you the most?
School shootings continue growing, and anyone who has any experience as a police officer takes this matter personally. When you witness an innocent child die your life is permanently altered. So, I have to say that my biggest concern is our ability to reduce the rate at which school shootings are occurring. Luckily, police departments from all over the country are getting more and more sophisticated. The response times are now shorter than ever, and that helps reduce the likelihood of multiple casualties. We’re also working closing with state and federal authorities to explore new options to help prevent these tragedies before they begin.
What do you suggest one should do during a school shooting?
I am a firm believer in preparation. Knowing what to do during a school shooting does not happen in the heat of the moment. On the contrary, we need to teach kids and teachers the important lessons long before they are ever exposed to something so tragic. First, I think that every student should always be aware of all exits. Then, they should be trained to remain calm even when there is an active shooter on the premises. Doing so will maximize everyone’s odds of survival and minimize the death toll. Trust me, panic is an enemy to anyone who is facing a mass murderer.
Is there any topic that you would like to raise awareness for?
There are too many to count. If I had to pick one, however, it would revolve around firearm safety. The United States is a country where a large percentage of the population owns a weapon. Due to that, we must ensure that people know how to approach a wide range of situations. Meaning, gun owners should always be aware of the disastrous consequences of improper firearm handling. Then again, they should be aware of the fact that their weapon can be the difference between life and death. Owning a firearm is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
For a person working in a police department, what does a typical day look like?
It depends on a few factors including rank, shift, task, and so on. Regardless, a shift for an officer on patrol generally starts off in the lineup where they will receive their assignment for that tour. Then, you let the day unfold, and you keep up with where you’re assigned. Sometimes, you will have to initiate a traffic stop within seconds after going on the road, or you could be pulled from the lineup for a potentially dangerous situation. Then again, there are days when you can drive for hours, and the City seems like a ghost town.
What would you say is the hardest part of the job?
Sometimes, you will have to deal with accidents that caused fatalities. These situations are usually challenging for every police officer. After the investigative work is completed, they are the ones left with one of the worst duties in the world. That duty is to let the family of the deceased know about the accident and the passing of their loved one. Sadness and pain from those moments tend to follow the policemen and women permanently.
How does one become a police officer?
Depending on the agencies, the requirements might slightly differ. I’ve noticed even though it is not mandatory for all departments, individuals with a bachelor’s degree are starting to become primary candidates for almost all non-civil service municipalities. Once hired either off a civil service list or a “ Chief’s Test “ the individual then enters what is known as the police academy. This is where the most important knowledge is taught, and one gets to learn all the ins and outs of the profession.
Eventually, they graduate from the police academy and join the force. From there, things vary based on performance, written reviews, training, and more. People who are able to do well will move through the ranks fast.
Is there a key to longevity in such a high-stress line of work?
If you are struggling, don’t ever be scared or too macho to ask for help. I speak to you from experience. Before it’s too late and you lose control of your situation, please ask for help. It may not be the easiest thing to do or the most popular, but you have to swallow your pride, sit down, and talk to someone. If you don’t, what you’re going through will eat you up inside the day in and day out. It will change you, and you will become a different person right before everyone’s eyes. You will blame your friends, your family, and mostly yourself. In the end, if you don’t get the help, you may very well lose all of it. I’ve attended way too many police funerals that did not have to happen if they had just asked for help.