This article is part of a series focusing on individuals who dedicate their careers to serving the public in honor of Public Service Recognition Week.
Brian Meek has been a police officer for more than 24 years. He is currently an intelligence officer with the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona.
In addition to his long career in law enforcement, he holds a master’s degree in Intelligence Studies from American Military University. He is a 2015 graduate.
We asked Brian why he chose a career in public service and how his work in law enforcement helps others.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
I was inspired to become a police officer because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help bring justice to the world.
What do you wish you knew before going into law enforcement?
Initially, I didn’t realize how important networking is within a law enforcement agency. Just like the business world, career advancement is not just about ability, but also about making connections.
What is the most satisfying and/or enjoyable part of your career?
The most satisfying part of the job is making positive differences in people’s lives every day, regardless of whether or not this contribution is recognized or understood by others. I know what I do and the positive impact my work has on individuals and whole communities.
There’s a constant momentum for the common good that I create day in and day out. That is very gratifying.
Is there a moment or incident that you reflect upon fondly as being highly representative of why you pursued this career in the first place?
One of my proudest moments as a police officer involved a suspect who was already in custody. In the late 90s, I was an officer with the Gilbert Police Department in Arizona.
The suspect had a large, well-chiseled muscular physique. He had been arrested for rape and was in a small holding cell in our department.
After we got a search warrant for physical samples to be obtained from his body, we informed the suspect that we needed to serve the warrant and retrieve the evidence. He became irate. Before we opened the holding cell, the suspect informed us in no uncertain terms that he was going to violently resist.
My partner, Ed, was ready to take him on. Ed was a former offensive lineman in college and he was trim and in shape.
However, the suspect was ready to fight. Having been a boxing fan growing up, I was well aware of the skill the suspect possessed. I recognized him as an undefeated, top-10 heavyweight boxer.
Due to the configuration of our holding cell, only one officer at a time could enter. I knew there would be serious injuries because he had quite the advantage.
I talked to the suspect in a manner that engaged him intellectually. He understood what we had to do, that it would certainly be done and the consequences he faced if he chose the path of most resistance.
In a calm manner, I explained to the suspect that no matter what happened, we were going to get the evidence. If he acted violently towards us, he faced a felony that would stand alone, regardless of the ultimate judgment regarding his guilt or innocence for the rape.
As I talked to him, the suspect thought about what I said and abandoned his fighting stance. When I finished, he looked at me and said, “Okay.” The suspect then turned around and put his hands behind his back. We handcuffed him and he was peacefully processed at the hospital.
I know that I saved Ed and myself from being soundly beaten. I also know that it saved the suspect from peril. It could have ended badly for all involved.
The warrant was served and the evidence was collected without undue delay. That helped the victim, the community and the police department. It was a successful resolution and encapsulated the essence of what I have brought to policing throughout my career.
What impact does your work have on American citizens?
My work protects our physical safety, our emotional needs, and our feelings of well-being. A police officer enforces the laws based on the Constitution, which was created by a unique brand of government unmatched in world history. At their best, the police are recognized by the community as an extension of the community’s will to be free of fear.
What advice would you give others pursuing a similar career?
Those who wish to become a police officer must understand it is a career that can be very satisfying and fulfilling. It also requires an individual to be focused on maintaining a healthy perspective. Officers must always keep in mind the core values and reasons that inspired them to pursue this career.
I have had a very enjoyable and satisfying career. I believe having the right mindset and working to maintain it has served me well and would help anyone entering this exciting field.
To read more about Brian’s career, please read his latest article: