Through the Looking Glass

Sergeant Cynthia Marlowe

Have you ever looked at a Police Officer and wondered, who are they behind the badge? Like most people you probably have, with questions of, what made them choose this profession, who are they when they aren’t on duty and what likes, hopes and dreams do they possess.

Like many, Sergeant Tish Edmonds wakes up and puts on her bullet proof vest, uniform, boots and duty belt with the prospects of making a difference in the lives of the citizens of Richmond in which she serves. I challenge each and every one of you to gaze “Through the Looking Glass” and see the person behind the badge.

Sergeant Tish Edmonds began her career with the Richmond Police Department October 23, 2000 when she was 27 years young, as a member of the 84th Basic Recruit Class. While growing up Tish aspired to become a judge and felt as though attending Law School was her “destiny”. However, when she was attending high school, she had a face to face encounter with Law Enforcement which would drastically change her path. Tish was a victim of sexual assault and like so many was in shock over the situation and hysterical. She contacted a family member to come get her and take her to the hospital which is where she had her first encounter with a Detective. She vividly recalls the events that proceeded. As she sat in the Emergency Room a female detective arrived, which at first she was thankful for, but that thankfulness took a sudden turn. Tish was being treated as a suspect and being asked why over and over again. The detective looked at Tish and told her that she didn’t believe her because she “didn’t look assaulted”. Tish immediately felt dirty and undervalued by how the detective responded to her assault. She remembers that feeling and how the instant the detective left her room, she was wrapped in her mothers arms being told how brave and loved she was. In this very moment of Tish’s life, she knew, becoming a Police Officer was her new destiny. Tish chose to begin her path in Law Enforcement after getting a higher education and the best fit was Richmond Police Department. She chose Richmond Police Department because she felt that the work she could do with “inner city problems” best suited her aspirations. She reminisces about being a Recruit and being assigned to First Precinct and how she could feel and see the support from the community members. She hoped that when she completed her training that she would be assigned there. To her surprise, she was. She recalls going in being energized to be around other African Americans as she thought that she would better relate to the family dynamics and neighborhoods. Tish laughs as she recalls how wrong her thought process was and the shock at the violence that she was witnessing. But she never stopped caring about the community and its citizens in which she served. Tish continues to strive to teach others to know that your experiences don’t break you, but help you to grow and is an inspiration to males and females who share her story.

Tish has had many challenges to face during her career thus far, but on the flip side many achievements. She speaks with such enthusiasm about what she feels is her greatest accomplishment, and that is being apart of creating the Domestic Violence Enforcement Response Team. The team was tasked with the reduction of domestic violence within the City of Richmond. During that time, the team effectively reduced the statistics of domestic violence by 25%, give or take.

However, there is so much more under the surface that makes Tish, well Tish. She is a proud mother to two amazing boys, doing it on her own since her divorce. Tish is also a strong and grateful child of God. Her concrete faith is what helps her to see the potential in others and inspire them to see it in themselves. Tish has many dreams, one that stands out the most to me. She plans to attend a mission trip with her church to serve others overseas and as she states “around the globe”. Tish also is a Fashion Model, participating in runway show benefits for domestic violence and mental health. She lights up when she speaks about having the opportunities to meet local designers and women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. But Tish’s dreams don’t just stop there. She has the ambition to succeed as far in the Richmond Police Department as she can. She smiles bigger than I have ever seen when she states that she “will” become a Lieutenant and how she will end her career as a Police Chief. Tish still doesn’t stop there. She plans on furthering her education on leadership and community policing as well as going back to school to obtain her Doctorate Degree.

Sergeant Tish Edmonds is an inspiration to those around her in so many ways outside of the words written above. The trials and tribulations that she endured and overcame with such tenacity helps others see how strong a single person can be. Tish shows perseverance and dedication in all walks of life and she closed our time together with stating “If I had to do it all over again, I would still become a Police Officer”.

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