From Educator to Protector: How One Rasmussen College Student’s Desire to Serve and Protect Led to a Big Career Change [VIDEO]
After high school, Amy Cyr went to college to become a teacher. “I chose the teaching path because I felt it is what everyone always wanted for me and that it was what I was supposed to do,” says Cyr. After 14 years of teaching, she found she wasn’t enjoying it as much as she once was. The day-to-day tasks had become less enjoyable. She wanted to do something she would find stimulating and exciting every day, so she decided she wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.
With no close family members or friends serving in the field or in the military, Cyr was inspired to become a police officer based on her strong desire to serve both her community and country. Though her life was constantly busy, she decided it was the time to pursue her dreams and do something she would be both interested in and would give back to others.
Wanting to help, Cyr volunteered with the police reserve in New Ulm, Minnesota. “While in the police reserve, I realized the unit was all about serving the community and bringing it together. I really loved that,” she said. It was here where she first learned about Rasmussen College. Some of her peers went through the Law Enforcement program at Rasmussen College and highly recommended she attend. For Cyr, the convenient online classes and night and weekend skills training fit in her busy schedule. As a single mother who worked full time, she knew she needed a flexible option.
“The professors at Rasmussen College have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are always eager to share with students,” Cyr says. Knowing her professors have worked in the field and experienced so many situations makes learning from them even more exciting, she adds.
During her first quarter at Rasmussen College, while pursuing her first Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, one of Cyr’s professors recommended her to tutor others, saying she would be an excellent resource. Cyr says, “I was thinking, ‘I have a lot on my plate already, but at the end of the day, why not?’ If I can help someone learn the material and do better, then I should.” After putting in 10–20 additional hours a week to tutor her peers, she says, “Perhaps it was the educator in me and wanting to help people that made me do it.”
When Cyr was recently doing her own studying, she came across a statistic she found shocking. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation: Only 11.6 percent of all police officers are female. While she knew the ratio of male and female officers was imbalanced, she did not imagine that it would be so low. She felt women could contribute significantly in this field and that it was important for her to join it. “From a psychological perspective, women just think differently than men. I think when women collaborate with men great things happen,” she says. Cyr believes women generally handle situations in a calm and collected way making them a valuable asset to the police force. Ultimately, she feels it is important to balance out genders in all fields and that it is positive for everyone to see different perspectives.
Entering the law enforcement field, regardless of gender, is often an intensive process. However, the field is not always how it is often portrayed in the movies. There are many lesser-known daily duties that the public may be unaware of. Cyr says much of what she has trained for is about learning to communicate effectively and preparing for the little things. “Police officers just want to help others, but they also need to know how to protect themselves and those around them as best they can,” she says. Even with all that is going on in the field, Cyr says police officers need to focus on the plethora of people who support what they do and depend on them daily.
When thinking about graduating with her Associate’s degree in Law Enforcement from Rasmussen College and entering into the field in a few short months, Cyr is very honored. She is grateful she will be able to serve her community. But, she says, going into this field is also a little scary and intimidating. “At the end of the day, in my mind, I think, ‘Why not?’ Someone has to do it and I am able,” she says. Cyr always liked the idea of being able to go above and beyond and serving the greater good. “If I can help others, that is all I care about.” Ultimately, she hopes to become a school resource officer and combine her experience as an educator with her passion for law enforcement to help students make positive choices.