Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department |
Courage, Discipline, Commitment |
Published in the November/December 2012 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Sergeant Raul Mendez is a sergeant in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. He served in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989, and has been in the U.S. Army Reserves since 2000, attaining the rank of sergeant. His reserve duty also takes place in Washington, D.C.
“While active duty in the Corps, I served as an administrative and personnel clerk with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines,” Mendez said. “I served in a multitude of administrative functions to include assisting our JAG (Judge Advocate General) legal office. I was responsible for serving Marines at a company level, ensuring that all of the personnel jackets were up to date. I conducted monthly audits on personnel. As members either discharged or came into the unit, I was responsible for all of the pertinent paperwork and that it got squared away without skipping a beat. As a current member with the Army’s’ 273rd Military Police Company, I serve as a soldier and military police officer.”
In the police department, Mendez is the team leader for the Recruitment Background Investigation Unit. “I serve as a sergeant and supervisor for a squad of civilian investigators and sworn detectives,” he said. “We ensure that police applicants’ cases are being investigated in a timely and orderly manner. I also review, audit, and approve at my level all cases that investigators/detectives turn in as ‘recommends.’ I also assist the director of outreach; and I travel across the United States as an adjunct recruiter, attending job fairs and working on college campuses.”
Mendez has accomplished a lot since joining the force. “In my 12 years, I have grown in the department,” he said. “I served as a patrol officer, a crime scene technician, and a sergeant in patrol; and I have worked in the Internal Affairs Bureau and the executive office of the chief of police. I served as a public information officer, and most recently as a supervisor in the recruiting branch.”
His military experience has helped him in his various roles. “Leadership traits are instilled in us Marines and soldiers,” Mendez said. He also cited “the training, being interactive, and various skill assets attained.”
Having leadership skills has paid off in various ways. “Being a military police officer and possessing the leadership skills have helped me go a long distance in a career that continues to be rewarding,” Mendez said. “They have allowed me to transition and move around the police department and get myself promoted to a higher rank – and my peers respect me for that. I am also respected by my superiors, who in turn have allowed me to do various job functions that require a lot of discipline and effort to succeed.”
His military experience has also helped him be successful in the diverse area of Washington. “It allows me to have a great working relationship amongst my subordinates, peers, and superiors,” he said. Mendez believes that the department is a great place for veterans to work because its structure is similar to that of the military. “Our police department, like many others across the United States, has a paramilitary structure,” he said. “Therefore, many veterans transition very well. And in our police department, they continue to utilize their skills and assets.”
Mendez recommends that servicemembers take advantage of all the opportunities they can while in the military. They should “continue onward with a higher education and, while in the military, take advantage of the different skill assets available to them,” he said. “If they can get promoted to a higher grade, attend all leadership schools, and be qualified in more than one MOS, that will also help. Education is a key component. Become a well-rounded individual, along with the military training.”
He believes that veterans are a good fit everywhere. “I would advise that men and women leaving the military seek opportunities across federal, state, and city organizations,” he said.
More specifically, he wants them to join the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. “My advice would be to apply with our organization,” Mendez said. “The police department rewards its employees – great benefits, great opportunities for advancement, and most of all they support wholeheartedly their veterans while they are in the reserves. When activated, they can rest assured their job will still be here when they come back – an assurance to themselves, family, and country.”