Meet Officer Jill Marshall of the Warwick, RI Police Department. One of Live PD’s most recent officers and rising star with the fans of the show. Her first appearance was on July 28th and she clocked in an impressive amount of screen time for a first time debut. Her calm demeanor quickly attracted the notice of long time viewers and they are impressed with how she handles herself. She also got tossed into social media head first and is doing well with it.
Staff writer Matt Lukac arranged the interview with Ofc. Marshall.
Matt: Officer Marshall. It’s wonderful having you on. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Ofc. Marshall: So I went to Salve Regina University in Newport to study criminal justice. I got my bachelors from them and I also got my masters degree in administration of justice. I knew as soon as I went into high school that this was something I was interested in pursuing, law enforcement. I didn’t go back and forth, I didn’t waiver, this is what I wanted to do.
Before I became a police officer I worked at a place called Day One and I was a Forensic Interviewer. I would interview children and developmentally disabled adults that were physically and sexually abused. I would conduct the interview and the grand jury could use that tape instead of having the child go to court which was fantastic. After that I had gotten on the Warwick Police Department and I have been there for 17 years.
Matt: What was police academy like for you?
Ofc. Marshall: The police academy was nothing like I’ve ever done before. I made it my main focus. I was only 24 when I started. I thought it was challenging but everyone was on the same team because it was brand new to all of us which made it less intimidating. I just kind of fell into place with it and I thought it was challenging but it never stopped me from continuing and to pursue.
Matt: Was that the first time you actually fired a weapon, was it police academy or were you familiar with weapons before that?
Ofc. Marshall: No. I wasn’t familiar at all with any firearms. That’s the first time. I would say that I was excited and I was nervous as I was brand new and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.
Matt: In the Warwick Police Department what positions have you held? We see you as a patrol officer on Live PD and on Twitter it says you are also a school resource officer.
Ofc. Marshall: I am and I’ve worked every shift as a patrol officer first, second, and third. I also did undercover work with our drug unit. Then I moved on and did work with the Professional Standards Division and I was in charge of doing backgrounds of recruits trying to get on the job and I worked together with the Police Academy. After that I became a School Resource Officer with Community Police Division.
Matt: What is your favorite part of being a School Resource Officer?
Ofc. Marshall: I’m in a junior high school so the kids are definitely mold-able so if I see issues with a kid with another group of kids, they are more open-minded and receptive to me as a an officer and I would say that is my favorite part so far is being able to reach these kids to help them avoid of becoming a part of the criminal justice system. Also there are so many great kids and it is fun to be around them and let them see police officers are not big burly men that are intimidating and that like to harass people.
Matt: I could see where this is beneficial for children that have had negative interactions with law enforcement.
Ofc. Marshall: Absolutely. They are so funny and they come up to me and call me Officer Jill and they want to ask questions and they are comfortable around me which is what I want because a lot of those kids have had a parent with issues with law enforcement or maybe a parent has been arrested.
Matt: If you wanted to move on as a School Resource Officer, what other role in Warwick would you be interested in?
Ofc. Marshall: If I wasn’t a School Resource Officer I could stay in the Community Police and that would be more outreach to different neighborhoods or trouble spots. So still working with the public in a different capacity than patrol, so I could do that. I could also take the sergeant’s test but I decided in the beginning of my career that I wasn’t going to go that route because I didn’t want to go back to third shift. So I am going to do what is healthy and best for me and my family and go into different divisions that offered me a little more normalcy schedule wise.
Matt: What are your thoughts on Live PD?
Ofc. Marshall: At first I was a bit hesitant because of the whole social media and being on TV, it was a little intimidating thinking that was what I was going to do. But when my Captain had asked me he said we would really like a good representation of a female on our job as well. It would be a good and different perspective on the job. At that point I was honored and it was hard for me to say no. Once I started doing it, I almost felt hooked. The crew, the Live PD crew is just incredible people. They are so easy to work with. They made me feel comfortable, they are professional. I felt at ease with when I was around them and they pretty much walked me through everything. Once they did that for me I felt more comfortable, more confident. And now I am totally excited and thrilled to be a part of it.
— Officer Jill Marshall (@officer_jill) July 27, 2018
Matt: Does it take them a long time to get your cruiser ready?
Ofc. Marshall: Not really. They are so on it because of their experience, it is incredible. I pull up the cruiser and they have their trunks open and they are ready to go. You can tell they have a lot of experience.
What a crew I have the privilege to ride with. pic.twitter.com/prMJc00Pqq
— Officer Jill Marshall (@officer_jill) July 28, 2018
Matt: It is a very interesting show and it shows what you go through on a daily basis.
Ofc. Marshall: I think the show is excellent because they do show a bit of everything. They show the drug stops, the domestics. They also show a DMV where I dealt with a guy terrified of a moth in his car. They show a bit of everything which I think make people realize that officers aren’t just out there arresting people they are actually communicating and working with people, coming up with different solutions other than an arrest for every single call, it doesn’t work that way.
Matt: Despite what the media is showing, Live PD is showing what is really happening.
Ofc. Marshall: Yes, they are showing everything which is fantastic, it gives people such a great perspective on what we do. I think it actually shocks people to see what we actually deal with.
Matt: What is the most interesting call you’ve had in your career?
(warning: disturbing content ahead)
Ofc. Marshall: A couple of years ago a call had come in at a store, it was at a Rite Aid, and it was in between shift change so we were short on patrol people. So the call had come in that someone has been stabbed at the store. That is all I had. I was two minutes from the store. So I had pulled up and I ran in and I couldn’t believe what I saw. There was a female on the ground, she had been stabbed over 20 times, a young girl, she was 17. The suspect was in store being held down by a customer. So I ran up to the girl and she was a kid. I had never seen anything like it before. I grabbed paper towels and was basically putting her stomach back in. He had stabbed her with such a vengeance. The worst part of that call was he randomly picked that store and her. There was no motives. So I was there for a couple of minutes by myself and I am trying to save this girls life. There was blood everywhere, it was the most horrific thing I had ever seen. This gentleman was holding the down the suspect for me. He sat right on this guy and he said “No. He is not going anywhere.” and we had this moment, and I said “I believe you sir, I know he is not going anywhere.” Other officers had come in and this girl was transported.
To this day I actually still talk to this family because they feel like I saved her life. I received an award and all that stuff which is unnecessary, I don’t even wear it. I am very humble when it comes to that. I am just grateful that I was there to help this girl. She ended up graduating high school but she wasn’t able to go back. She had eight to ten surgeries and I don’t know if she will ever get use of her arm. That was definitely the most traumatic and shocking call that I will never forget.
Matt: She might not have been able to go back to school but she is able to spend time with her family because of you. Thank you, it was amazing.
Ofc. Marshall: It was amazing. And it’s funny, she just texted me about Live PD not too long ago, because I check with her mom to see how she is doing with her surgeries and what her plans are. A few days ago she said she signed up for community college so I am going to start going. I can’t even imagine the trauma that this kid felt and has to deal with for the rest of her life. So I was proud of her.
Matt: What is your favorite way to mess with a rookie?
Ofc. Marshall: You know it’s funny, I don’t. I don’t mess with any rookies. I remember being a rookie myself and it was so stressful and overwhelming. I see the fear in their eyes and they don’t know what to say and they don’t know what to do. I just laugh to myself and say oh my gosh, I am so way past that. I mess with my coworkers, not the rookies.
Matt: In your opinion what makes a good officer a great officer?
Ofc. Marshall: I think experience. I think a love of the profession, patience, and being a balanced officer is big. Knowing when to kick it up with authority and when to scale it back. I think the best officers have a bit both. They are not too gung-ho and aggressive and they are not lackadaisical that they could get hurt.
Matt: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an officer?
Ofc. Marshall: I would tell them to be patient because it is very competitive for men and women. You might have to apply to ten different departments and it could take you years to get on the job. If this is your passion, this is what you see yourself making your career. You have to be patient and keep applying.
Matt: What is your favorite type of doughnut?
Ofc. Marshall: Well we are not supposed to eat doughnuts. I’ve never eaten a doughnut while working, but who doesn’t love doughnuts? So I would say my favorite is Boston creme. You can’t go wrong with a Boston creme but I would never eat one in uniform, I would be too embarrassed.
And that is it. Thank you to both Matt Lukac and Ofc. Marshall for this wonderful interview. I am looking forward to seeing the Warwick Police Department on the remaining days of season two and hopefully they get picked up again for season three!
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