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LieutenantNorth Lake College Campus Police
“I wanted to become a police officer years ago, but my family took priority. After serving in the Army and Reserve for eight years, I went into other work and was working as chief financial officer at a printing company, but eventually I got laid off.
“When the opportunity came up to change careers, several of my friends who are police officers said, ‘Do it now; go back and do what you’ve always wanted to do.’ I went to Eastfield's Criminal Justice Training Center and talked to Neal Wilson, who told me about all of the options the program offers.
“It is a good program. Neal is one of those pretty incredible people — he’s got a fantastic memory and hardly forgets anybody who comes through his program, is highly intelligent and is a good instructor. When I finished Basic Peace Officer training, I got instructor-certified too and taught some at Brookhaven's and Eastfield's police academies.
“Then, when I was looking for a job, I went to serve as a reserve police officer for the city of DeSoto. It’s a little like an internship — you act as an officer without pay — and it’s helpful to see what’s going on out there on the streets. That opportunity also helped me land my current job with the North Lake College Campus Police.
“Most of my fellow students in the police academy were career-changers like me. I’ll be honest — it wasn’t easy being back in school after about 30 years. Being a runner, I was in good physical shape, so that part wasn’t hard. The difficult part was getting back to studying and retaining information, and I had to work extremely hard in the beginning. But it was worth it, because I love what I’m doing.
“It may sound kind of corny, but what you get out of this job is helping people, giving back something in public service. And to be successful in this field, you really do have to have a commitment to integrity. You definitely don’t go into police work for the money; it’s not a career where you’re going to become wealthy. But if it’s what you love to do and you also get satisfaction out of performing a true public service, it’s absolutely worth it.”
Bobby Zito has served as a police officer with the North Lake College Campus Police Department since 2003, after he completed Basic Peace Officer training at Eastfield's Criminal Justice Training Center and passed the TCLEOSE licensing exam.