A port police officer wants to make a difference

For Port of Seattle Police Department officer Ryan Cody-Berry, a career as a first responder is a family affair. Growing up in San Francisco, both of her parents were firefighters and other family members worked in law enforcement.

“I saw how rewarding and challenging it was to be a first responder,” he said. “My parents would come home elated after a good shift and wanted to talk about it and the people they could help. You get to do things in a positive way that far outweighs any negative things that happen.

Cody-Berry was drawn to law enforcement because it felt more proactive than other first responder careers. He began taking steps to become a police officer while in college at Washington State University, interning with the WSU Police Department as a cadet.

He graduated in a competitive hiring market, so a recruiter informed him that taking a job that enjoyed the public’s trust would give him an advantage. In 2017, he started working for the Port of Seattle Police Department (POSPD) as a dispatcher, intending to pursue a career as a police officer. After going through an internal hiring process, he became a police officer in 2019.

His experience as a dispatcher provided useful knowledge of port property geography, radio procedures and languages. Because he was already familiar with the facilities when he started working as a policeman, he could focus on learning essential tasks like writing reports, keeping everyone safe, and working and talking with people from diverse communities.

A single department

As a police officer, Cody-Berry is currently assigned to various special units and responsibilities, including the Valley Crowd Management Unit team, Police Mountain Biking Association certification (allowing him to patrolling the terminal by bicycle), the firearms instructor, and the Valley SWAT team.

“Being able to do all of this in the first three years of your career is not something that happens at other agencies,” he said. “At the port, you are available for advancement and specialist team assignments quite early in your career. Other agencies have rotating mandates and don’t have as many opportunities because many of their specialist assignments are regional.

During roll call, POSPD officers receive daily assignments. Each day, officers can patrol and answer calls in the airport terminal, monitor airport roads, parking and rental car facilities, or circle nearly 30 miles of the waterfront owned by the port, from North Tukwila to Golden Gardens in Ballard.

“A lot of people think working as a cop at an airport means you’re not doing police work – pushing grandma in the wheelchair to get to the gate on time or helping with lost luggage and service customer. But there’s real police work and the nice thing about working here is there’s enough police work to keep you busy, but you’re not so busy that you go from call to call. ‘other. This gives you enough time to be proactive. The port environment offers this opportunity.

Cody-Berry said her favorite part of the job is talking to people from different walks of life and backgrounds. He also appreciates the quality of the people POSPD hires and gets to know his colleagues. He likes to feel he is making a difference, to be proactive and to stop something before it happens.

Built for success

He said diversity within the department is a priority in terms of hiring and working with the community.

“Some people in the community might feel more comfortable working with someone from their culture who understands their community. In this job, you can connect with people from all walks of life. Without diversity on staff, it is more difficult to connect with the community and show that you are inclusive and tolerant. It is necessary to maintain a good community presence.

To be successful in the job, Cody-Berry said officers need a lot of integrity and a strong moral compass.

“In the middle of a situation, you need to be able to make a split-second decision, and you need to be able to make the right decision. You need good judgment and a desire to do the right things to the right reasons, he said. “You have to be a good communicator; 90% of the job is talking to people of different cultures, backgrounds, nationalities, genders, lifestyles, and you have to be accepting of everyone you come in contact with.”

According to Cody-Berry, the essential skills are intelligence, the ability to read and write well, and good logic. Prospective police officers must be 100% committed and have a support system in place.

“It’s going to take a long time and 1000 eyes are watching you at work,” he said. “You also have to be flexible; you can’t be so set in your habits or thought process that you can’t exceed a set point. You must be able to solve problems in changing situations; every day and every call is different from the last, so you have to deal with that. »

Supportive culture

The Port Police Department offers a great schedule, competitive salary, great benefits like a retirement package and lifelong medical insurance if you retire from the port. Many people are promoted after two or three years.

“It’s a good department if you’re looking to advance your career,” said Cody-Berry. “You are busy but not overwhelmed. You can talk to and help people from all walks of life in a truly unique environment.

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