Since age six, Sergeant Julie Scribner said she has wanted to become a police officer. Today, she is a Detective Sergeant with the Vermont State Police, investigating major crimes and deaths. But Scribner- former cheerleader, stay-at-home mom, and retail worker- wasn’t always on track to be a police officer.
A native of Cornwall, Vermont, Scribner left Vermont for a few years because her husband was in the Army, but in returned to her native Cornwall in 2002 after the marriage ended.
“When we got divorced, I knew that I wanted to come back to Vermont,” she said. “I just love the sense of community.”
Scribner joined the Vermont State Police in 2001. On top of her job on with Vermont State Police, Scribner is also currently enrolled at Norwich University. She expects to have her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in June 2015.
Q: Why did you decide to become a police officer?
A: I decided on the Vermont State Police because of the opportunities available in a larger department: for special units, special teams, opportunities for advancement, the salary and retirement, and a larger patrol area.
Q:What’s it like being a female sergeant in a traditionally male-dominated field?
A: I think there are always some challenges being a female of any rank in a traditionally male-dominated field. First of all, you have to have confidence in your training and abilities. Everyone, no matter what their gender, has strengths and weaknesses, and you have to be able to know when to ask for help.
Q: What’s next? What are some of your long term goals?
A: Well, one of my long term goals was recently achieved – which was to be a Detective Sergeant in C Troop. So I guess my next long term goal within the department is really just getting more experience in this position. Attaining my bachelor degree is another long term goal and I am within a year of achieving that.
Q: Is being a trooper what you expected it to be like? Is there anything you wish someone had told you about the position before you started?
A: Being a Trooper is so much better than I expected it to be! Back when I applied, there wasn’t a lot of information out there about what it was like, and I didn’t know any Troopers to ask about it.
Q: What advice would you give to young women wishing to become troopers?
A: We have mandatory physical fitness assessments twice a year, but you need to be in shape all the time, not just for the PT test. The academy certainly will be a lot less difficult if you are in excellent shape!
You really need to make sure this is the right job for you. A lot of people, men and women, think they want to be police officers, but find out they really aren’t suited for the job. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s really better to find out early on if this is the right job for you.
Q: What do you like most about working on the police force?
A: You never have two days on this job that are the same. One day you might be out running call to call, the next you may be sitting in your car all day doing security at a house where a homicide occurred, and the next you may be spending the day catching up on paperwork.
Q: What’s the biggest crisis you have had to handle on the job?
A: Years ago, we had a series of arsons that occurred in the course of an afternoon. There were only two of us working and it seemed we were just two steps behind the guy. We’d respond to a report of a fire on one road and by the time we got there, we were being called to another one a mile away. One of us would be at one fire, and the other would see a new fire down the road. All in all there were about seven fires set to homes and vehicles over the course of about an hour causing over half a million dollars in damage. Fortunately nobody was injured, and the bad guy was eventually caught.
I’d say the other big crisis was Tropical Storm Irene. I was assigned to work out of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for about a week or so. It was absolutely incredible to see how that crisis was managed from that end. There were hundreds of people on the ground, in the air, in offices, and in dispatch centers all over the state working together to help the citizens of Vermont.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you learned on the job?
A: One valuable thing I’ve learned is that it is crucial to treat people with respect whenever possible, even people I arrest.
I’ve always tried to treat people the way I would want my family members to be treated by an officer if they were in that situation. I’ve learned that while technology is now a major tool in doing our jobs, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned police work: knocking on doors and talking to people. Lastly, I’ve learned not to procrastinate!
Favorite Vermont escape?
Absolutely too many to be able to pick just one. I’ll give you top ten in no particular order, but one of the best parts of all these Vermont escapes is a beautiful drive to get there:
10. The Pumphouse Water Park at Jay Peak. I did the La Chute once, not sure I could ever do it again…I was terrified!
9. Danville Corn Maze
8. Concerts at the Champlain Valley Fair
7. Brook trout fishing with my husband (I can’t tell you where). There is nothing better on a hot summer night than fried brookies and fresh corn!
6. Hiking any number of the trails throughout the state with my dogs.
5. Addison County Fair & Field Days
4. Kayaking. Not the actual paddling part as much as just finding a quiet waterway and just drifting.
3. For total relaxation: Waterfalls Day Spa in Middlebury
2. The Cabot store in Quechee – yum
1. My own backyard
2. Favorite band?
Tough one. Probably Kenny Chesney.
I don’t have many apps. I’d have to say Pandora – so I can listen to good tunes while I write my reports.
What’s one fun fact about you that few people would guess?
Cheerleading captain in high school. A couple people know this and were shocked when they found out. I had big hair, and saddle shoes. I’m still an avid Tiger football fan and go to all the home games, although now I wear a lot more layers for those cold Friday Night Lights. I was absolutely thrilled to see the Middlebury Tigers win the State Championship in 2013.
Favorite class in high school?
This is going to sound so cliché but…my favorite class was Criminal Law with Mr. Sims.
Favorite downtime activity?
Not sure I can pick just one. I love to read, so on the rare occasions when I have downtime, I love to just relax and read a book. And this may be hard to believe, but one of favorite downtime activities is actually a chore to most people: I absolutely love mowing the lawn! I have a zero-turn mower and I mow three acres with it. I get to listen to my iPod and enjoy a stunning mountain view, and I love to try out new mowing patterns every week. It totally de-stresses me!