Tempe, AZ – Lindsey Fernandez is a new police officer with the Tempe Police Department, she has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University and she’s half way done with her master’s degree and she’s only 22.
Lindsey says working in law enforcement is a dream that dates back many years, “I was a Tempe Police Explorer from when I was 18 until I was 21. Basically this program was like a mentorship program. I would go into a police station every Tuesday where I would meet with police officers who would teach me basic things like how to talk on the radio and how to use radio codes, stuff like that. Being involved in that program helped develop my interest in wanting to become involved in law enforcement.”
Lindsey was born in Mesa and graduated from McClintock High School in Tempe. She earned a scholarship from College Success Arizona which provides up to six thousand dollars per year for educational expenses and also specialized mentoring services. Lindsey completed her bachelor’s degree in three years and expects to finish her master’s degree in Criminal Justice within the next couple of years.
Perhaps Lindsey’s biggest educational challenge was getting through the police academy which is loaded with physical tests, “I faced many different challenges. Being a shorter female – one of the first challenges in the academy was not being able to get over the six foot wall. Another challenge I faced was that I had never shot (a gun) before – so, I struggled with firearms.”
Lindsey adds that support from family and friends was a huge help, “During the academy there were times when it was just really tough for me. It took a lot of mentorship and support from different people to help me realize that if it was something I wanted to do I just had to push myself to continue and not give up.”
For Lindsey, rising through the ranks of Tempe PD is a career goal, “I plan to stay on patrol for four to five years so that I can get the experience that I need. From there I would love to go into a detective spot whether it’s for property or for a specific crime unit and then work on that. In the long run I would like to test for a sergeant position.”
Lindsey says getting to her current station in life was aided by the Success Advisers (mentors) provided through College Success Arizona, “They were always very supportive, they met with me a few times during each semester which helped out a lot.”
For those students considering college, Lindsey says:
“Stay focused. Life is always going to happen, especially when you’re young but stay focused – especially through the hard times, at the end, it’s worth it.”