By Warren Bujol
Photos by Jamie Hartnett
Hair/Make up by Megan tyler (Studio 629)
Have you ever found yourself in a situation that involved a guest speaker? I have. I've been in hundreds, but if you've been in one, you'll notice a theme. It's basically sitting quietly next to strangers listening to someone brag about all the goals they've made. These things can last hours. The whole time you're thinking, "dude, you're way too old to be playing sports, and I'm pretty sure if you did, you wouldn't be scoring any goals." But you don't say anything because you know that every time the speaker is engaged by the audience, it adds another 30 to 40 minutes to the process.
So why do these people feel the need to travel around the country, pretending to be all-star athletes? Surely there's a reason why our bosses make us go listen to them. If I had to guess, I'd say these people (even if they aren't really scoring any goals) are trying to tell us that, life is like soccer or something; there are going to be people working with you and against you. Rules will change over time, but you're always going to be working against the clock. Your victories are only significant if you have a worthy opponent; and if you're going to be watching from the stands, you should probably get drunk before you arrive because the beers are much more expensive at the stadium.
Stefanie Tatum knows a lot about goals; she grew up playing soccer in/around Kansas City, Missouri and eventually found herself playing at the collegiate level for McNeese State. Stefanie has probably been scoring goals all of her life (unless she played defense, I forgot to ask), but I think it's safe to assume that she's never traveled the country to brag about it in front of hundreds of potential managers. Too bad, though; she cusses like a sailor (because she was one), and that always seems to keep an audience's attention.
To Stefanie, goals are much more than a sports objective; they’re like mile markers on a path to a purposeful life. Like many of us, Stefanie hasn't always had it easy. She learned early on that self-discipline and sacrifice are an integral part of achieving your dreams, especially if your dreams include becoming a police officer. Stefanie has wanted to be a police officer since she was eight years old, but being a cop 20 years ago isn't exactly like being a cop today, which is like being a woman who can moonwalk in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1692. Luckily for us, there are still a few people out there who aren't afraid of hashtags; people like Stefanie. She joined the Lake Charles Police Department in July of 2012, and has been beating the shit out of crime ever since.
If you haven't caught on by now, Stefanie is a lady; and not the kind with an asterisk by her name. She's a lady just like your mom, if your mom is the kind of lady that can body slam 4 out of every 5 people she meets. I assure you, she isn't the kind of person you'd want to start a fight with. Stefanie's motto is "Just f*cking do it", and that's exactly what she does. Immediately following kidney surgery, Stefanie was given the opportunity to tryout for the LCPD SWAT team, and wouldn't you know it? She f*cking did it. Stefanie became the first female SWAT officer in the Lake Charles Police Department and she didn't even make a big deal about it. She doesn't see anything special about this achievement because this isn't a soccer game; this is a job that is inherently dangerous and you don't have time to brag when lives are on the line.
There is one thing Stefanie finds significant in all of this; maintaining standards. In a politically correct world, common sense is a rarity. For military personnel and civil servants, political agendas seem to have become more important than life or limb. Stefanie's SWAT tryout was conducted just like every other SWAT tryout; mentally and physically exhausting. Her leadership didn't let political tides pressure them into lowering their standards because they knew that her ability to perform will ultimately cost or save lives. Stefanie is just one of many SWAT officers on the Lake Charles Police Department; she just pees different than the others.
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