Zebulon police lieutenant Scott Finch’s quest for education is what keeps him happy.
Q: You have been with the Zebulon Police Department for 14 years, having acquired the rank of lieutenant. What attracted you to the law enforcement line of work and was it always your personal career goal?
A: I have pretty much always had an interest in police work but my original dream was to serve in the military.
Q: Did you serve?
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A: Yes, when I graduated from high school, I enlisted in the Marines. I served four years active service and four years in the reserves.
Q: What made you want to join the military? Did you have a family member that influenced you?
A: My granddad was a Marine. He has always a very influential person for me but I grew up thinking that serving your country was something you just did. I grew up believing it was your civic and patriotic duty to serve.
Q: Were you stationed at Camp Lejeune? Did you ever go overseas?
A: I was stationed in Camp Lejeune and also at a base in Virginia. I was deployed a couple of times. I served in Operation Restore Hope (Mogadishu, Africa) but my duty was on a boat. I spent a lot of my time on boats. When I took leave in 1996, I began applying to law enforcement agencies and I got a response back fairly soon. My first job was with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department.
Q: Did you come to Zebulon from Wilson County?
A: No, I worked for a couple of years for a Drug Task Force that involved a few county agencies. I came to Zebulon in 2000. I saw it as an opportunity for more growth and stability.
Q: What is your favorite thing about law enforcement?
A: My favorite thing … I would have to say getting to know people and trying to learn all I can about someone. I try not to judge but apply empathy.
Q: In your years of experience, what do you feel is a common misconception about police officers?
A: Let me first say that police officers are human and they can make errors just like anyone else. Being a police officer is no longer just a job – it is a profession most people choose because they genuinely want to help someone.
Q: You are also involved in other volunteer or civic organizations, correct?
A: I like to volunteer with the Shop with a Cop program at Christmas, where we try to give families and their kids a better Christmas. I am a part of the Eastern Wake Gang Partnership, which strives to make an impact on youth and attempts to deter them from a life of drug activity. I am also part of the Enforcers Motorcycle Group, which is a motorcycle club that is involved in charitable organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, or we just hear of a family or group that needs help.
Q: You obviously have quite a lot that keeps you busy but do you have any interesting hobbies that others may not know about?
A: I am just very, very normal. I enjoy yard work, hanging out with my family and my two dogs, and I can just never get enough education. I just love to read and learn. I just finished school and I am getting ready to go back.
Q: Going back to college?
A: Well, I have my Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice but I have also gone back to school to acquire my Bachelor’s in criminal justice and I also have a Bachelor’s in psychology. I am now planning on going back to get my masters at East Carolina University.
Q: How can you juggle all that? A full-time job, family, organizations and school? Do you take the courses on-line, or attend classes at nights and on the weekends? Where did you obtain your recent degrees?
A: You know, people will do what they have to do if they set their mind to it. It is all just a matter of what you want. I would work during the day and then about three,four nights a week, I would attend classes at North Carolina Wesleyan. My wife has also gone back to school. My older daughter is in college and my other daughter is about to graduate high school and she will be attending college as well. Education is very important around our house.
Q: The bachelors in psychology – what is the interest there?
A: That has always been of interest to me – and I also think it is something important that law enforcement officers should know about since we often encounter people suffering from mental illness. Mental health issues should be addressed. In general, I just think anyone can benefit from as much education as they can get, and if everyone attempted to understand each other more.
Correspondent Dena Coward