ABOUT ALTOVISE LOVE-CRAIGHEAD
My story is not a heartfelt, impressive story.
Me and four friends saw the announcement for the Philadelphia Police exam. At the time, I was working at Philadelphia Family Court collecting child support payments and making approximately $15,000 per year. I was attempting to put myself through college. I knew at some point that I would have to seek employment that would increase my income. The only problem, I was still attempting to acquire my college degree.
One day, one of my friends suggested that we all take the police exam. We all passed but I am the only one that continued through with the additional exams: physical exam, lie detector exam, and background investigation.
Before I knew it, I was a new Police Recruit for a major city Police Department.
How I Became a Police Officer
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I was the 2nd oldest to a single mother with five children when my only brother, Emir Greene, was murdered in the city of Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, his murder involved street drug activity. During the grieving process, my mother sought emotional support from where ever she could find it. She looked for specialized training specific to each of her child’s age group. She attended meetings at the Medical Examiners Office, Grief Support Groups, and developed a relationship with the police department.
Unfortunately, my mother found, as we emotionally cycled through the grief process, discrimination towards my brother, even in death. This discrimination translated into statements like, “Our children died innocently!”
This made my mother sad and furious. She began a campaign to ensure all of those affected by homicide and violence were treated with the same compassion as others. This is not about the dead, this is about those still alive and affected by the sudden death of their loved ones.
During the immediate aftermath of my brother’s murder the police and others in the criminal justice system treated us with such great kindness and care. They became some of our best allies although sometimes it was clear they did not know what to say or do.
As I moved along through my police career I sought to find concrete steps that officers can take to make them feel more comfortable in assisting those going through crisis situations, not just for homicides but for other acts of violence.
My Experience with Trauma
Top: Altovise's Brother, Emir Greene. Bottom: Altovise's Mom and Sister.
For more information about the organization set up in memory of Altovise's brother visit www.emirphilly.org
I found, throughout my career, any time I spoke to people, sharing my story seemed to let them get to know me and to understand that I was more than a Police Officer.
Police work is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had but it often comes with a stigma of not being human or having an inability to relate. My story allowed people to see me as “human!”