rookie blue

Image:   Reflections magazine    Originally published   i n  Reflections , 2013

Image: Reflections magazine
Originally published in Reflections, 2013


Holly’s not exactly running from the law; she’s just taking it with her.

She’s ditching the briefcase for a pair of handcuffs, and turning in her business suit for a pair of police blues. At least, that’s her plan.

Once a lawyer working in family law and domestic violence, Holly Greenspoon is now an aspiring police officer. A single mom with a 14-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, she’s proof that it’s never too late to start over.

“Some things may appear to be a crazy idea, but in the end, they might be the best thing,” Holly said.

Before she set her sights on the force, Holly worked in politics on Capitol Hill, and then became a lawyer, where she helped victims of crimes. “It’s rewarding work,” she said. “But I came to realize I want to be out in the community—out on the front lines.” Rather than being a part of the secondary aspect of law, Holly wanted to be on the ground level, where the law interacts with the people.

After she went to a law conference and heard a female Seattle police detective speak, Holly decided she wanted a change. But when Holly asked the woman for advice on how to become a detective for cases like elder financial abuse, she was told she’d have to be a cop first. “I told her, ‘I don’t think they let people my age do that!’ ”

Turns out they do.

Getting from the court to the academy is a process, though, and Holly has only just begun. Between the initial police physical test, countless interviews, psych exams, another physical and, finally, the academy, it requires devotion. “You have to be dedicated,” she said. “You have to really want it. I really want it.”

Holly had to start with the physical. “I was scared to death,” she said, remembering that her last similar test was back in grade school. With a 300-meter sprint, a 1.5-mile run, timed situps and pushups, she decided to enlist some help to prepare for the big day.

Bellevue Club trainer Shannon Treybig threw Holly right into her biggest fear: the sprints. “I thought I was in shape already, but I was lacking, and I found out quickly!” Holly said. Together, the women worked on full-body strength training for one hour, twice a week. Shannon focused on building Holly’s upper body strength, abdominal power, running strength and endurance. Holly then continued to push herself on her own time, devoting five to six days a week to getting her body ready.

Both of her kids were proud to watch their mom work so hard toward a goal. Holly said that her daughter now does her own fitness routine of situps and pushups each night. At any age, dedication is dedication. “I set my mind to reach the goal, so I just worked toward it,” Holly said. “My kids are excited for this opportunity, too.”

By the big day, Holly had dropped a clothing size and was able to enjoy playing sports with her kids with increased stamina. But mentally, she had gained so much more. “I can take on other challenges. (I learned) even if you don’t succeed in reaching the goal, you’ve succeeded in taking on the challenge and doing the best you can.”

During the test, it was just Holly and seven men. Although she was nervous, it didn’t show when she “beat” the guy next to her during the sprints. “It’s not a competition!” she said, “But it was nice to beat a couple men,” which she also did during the 1.5-mile run.

Shannon was thrilled. “She cheers me on,” Holly said, and because of their time together, Holly has even found a new hobby: running.

Holly’s now looking into running half marathons, more confident than ever. “If you work on yourself physically, it has a direct influence on your outlook on life,” she said.

There’s still a long road ahead of her, and yet another brutal physical test, but Holly’s reservation about her age is no longer cuffing her to the sidelines. “For people, age can mentally be a barrier. You have to believe you can do something, and sometimes remind yourself over and over again. I had to remind myself repeatedly.”

Now, she’s excited for the possibility of joining the force and doing what she truly loves. But the biggest thing she’s taken away from this first step is that the only person who can stop you from achieving a goal is you.

“Age shouldn’t be a barrier to going after your dreams. It’s just a number. If you have something you want to do, just go for it.”