Name: Christan Goretti
Job: Police Officer
Location: Pasadena, California
Christian and I were connected through Alex Mckenna. Christian had a lifelong goal of becoming a police officer and has been able to accomplish that goal at the young age of 22! If you have had a lifelong career goal this is the story for you.
Can you give me a brief overview of your background?
I come from a large Italian family in California and I just recently became a police officer for the city of Pasadena. Prior to that, I was a huge athlete, I played baseball, football, and basketball, but mainly baseball my whole life and even played two years in college. I gave up athletics to pursue my dreams of becoming a police officer. Growing up as an athlete, my dream originally was to become a professional baseball player, but my parents kind of kept me grounded and reminded me that I needed to have a back-up plan because making it into professional baseball is not easy. Ever since I was young, I had a lot of friends whose parents were cops and saw the lifestyle they had and felt like it would fit me. I'm a very energetic and active person, and I need to be constantly challenged, which is why I turned to police work. I became a cadet, which is like a training internship, but you get paid and I got a police station for three years in Santa Monica and I basically emulated police officers for three years. After that opportunity is when I figured this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life.
How long have you been in the field?
They sent us to a six-month academy which is basically like boot camp in the military and at that point, I was commuting about an hour each day. Most people stayed around where the academy was, but I wanted to be close to my family so I chose to commute. In the academy, you learn how to become a police officer through a lot of conditioning, a lot of screaming, and yelling. The whole point of the training is that they want to weed out the weak people. We started with about sixty-five people in my class and I graduated with thirty-eight. I started the academy in August, graduated the first week of February, and have been patrolling the streets of Pasadena since that. My first two weeks were a normal lifestyle and then coronavirus hit and my job changed completely.
What does your day-to-day look like now considering the pandemic?
I work for a department that's very proactive, meaning I'm busy on slow nights or days where there's not much crime going on, so we don't get many radio calls. Our goal is to go find people that are skimming people or being criminals which means contacting people and being interactive. When the virus hit, they stopped all of the proactive investigations that weren’t high priority calls. They didn’t want us going out and doing interviews that were not necessarily a situation of life or death because we needed to decrease contact in any way possible. As quarantine began to extend longer, the department slowly let us go back to a more normal operation. We would sit in the car on our rounds and tell people they needed to be sure they were properly social distancing out in public. The day-to-day operations shifted focus to be a little more educational and making sure everyone was following the public health guidelines.
What has been the biggest hardship for you and how have you overcome that?
I would definitely say my age because I am pretty young for a police officer. At 23, most people would say I don't have much life experience and I think what's hard is a lot of times police officers respond to a lot of domestic disputes. We intervene in these situations to enforce the law and apprehend the primary aggressor but we also have to be counselors at the end of the day too. There are a lot of times I, as a 23-year-old, am trying to give marital advice to people that have been married for 20 to 30 years. When I first started, I honestly didn't really know what to say because I'm not married and have only been in 3 or 4 relationships in my whole life, so I didn’t have much advice. I quickly learned I was going to have to overcome that feeling very quickly. Luckily we also have a training officer for the first few months who helps teach us the ropes and provide guidance. I've had two great training officers so far, and they have steered me in the right direction and given me excellent guidance on what to do in different situations. Another major hardship is being able to change into various personalities at work. I can go from smiling and being a friendly community face for a little kid that may approach me or a senior that needs help crossing the street. However, I could get a call about a man attacking someone right after, and then I have to change my personality, mindset, and body language. That was definitely a big hardship for me at the beginning.
As a young professional, have you found it difficult to take yourself out of the job when you're spending time with your friends and doing normal things?
I think personally, that comes back to how you were raised as a person, so I give all the credit to my parents. My parents have always kept me grounded and they've allowed me to always be open with everything in life. My whole life my parents have always said, "I know things might be uncomfortable for you to talk about with us, but always come back, we are your parents and we can give you advice. We can steer you in the right direction." I don't really personally struggle with separating work and life yet, maybe because I'm so new, but I have two parents that are always there no matter at what time. I get off at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 in the morning, and my parents are there for me to talk to if I need to have that outlet. I think that is a big way to avoid bringing my work problems into my lifestyle outside of work.
What motivates you?
I'm very ambitious and motivated for a guy my age, and I obviously always want to succeed and I always want to be better. I think the ultimate goal of 'there's always more' is what drives me every day. I set a goal, and once I reach that goal, my mindset shifts to “how can I reach the next level of that goal?” The constant challenge of being better or getting better is what keeps me going every day.
Any last words of advice?
To any future police officers that read this, I know that it is important to make sure you’re right for the job. There will be some really hard days in this field where you will be pushed to your limits, and you’re going to want to quit. It is crucial to be grounded in your reasoning of why you’re doing this job because it will help you to push through the days that seem really horrible.
YoPro Know's Takeaways:
- Don't let your age prevent you from going after your dream job
- It is important to make sure you are aware of the potential emotional repercussions of the career field you are interested in
- Goal-setting is a great motivational tool to hold yourself accountable for personal and professional growth
Check it out: Pasadena Police Department