Tegan Wendell

Meet Tegan Wendell

Criminal Justice, 2014

If I were to have given up whenever I didn’t do well on a police exam, I never would have made it to where I am now.

I’ve always had an interest in criminal justice, but I wasn’t sold on it as a career path until after I began college. The subject matter just grabbed my attention as soon as I took my first class, and I knew it was my calling. It all came so natural to me, like I was always meant to be a police officer.

I built close personal and professional relationships with my professors, who taught me more than just what we read from a book. In fact, during my capstone project, Professor McGrain taught me more about life than about my research. When I hit major roadblocks trying to get interviews with subjects, Professor McGrain taught me how to persevere. He probably didn’t even realize how much he taught me about perseverance, but it’s a lesson I’ve called upon a few times since graduation.

Initially I wanted to be a Pennsylvania State Trooper and began the application process before graduation, but that career didn’t pan out. But I didn’t give up, and I applied to any department I saw was hiring. I even took a part-time position as a police dispatcher at the Upper Dublin Police Department in 2014, which turned into a full-time position later on. Then I left Upper Dublin to join the Philadelphia Police Department to gain more experience policing, and worked there for a year before I was hired as a police officer with Upper Dublin. If I would have given up every time I hit a roadblock, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

After serving with the department as a dispatcher, I knew I wanted to go back; I loved the community and had built great relationships with the people in the department.  In fact, when I left Upper Dublin for the Philly police academy, the now-retired Police Chief told me, “Don’t be afraid to stop in and say hi. Once you’re part of the family, you’re always part of the family.” That really stuck with me.

The feeling of family at Upper Dublin is the same feeling I had at GMercyU. My criminal justice professors were amazing; they were so helpful and really wanted my entire class to succeed. I know even if it’s ten years from now, I could go to any of my professors and I know they will do their best to help me in any way.