Rockwall Police Department
“I was working in loss prevention for K-Mart, catching shoplifters, and when my location closed, law enforcement seemed like the next step. I had already talked a lot to Garland police officers when they came to pick up shoplifters, and they really encouraged me to go ahead and become a police officer myself.
“I heard about Eastfield's Criminal Justice Training Center and decided it was a good time to go ahead and go for my Basic Peace Officer training. I applied, got accepted and went through in five months. There was a group of six or seven of us who got to be really good friends. We’re all still in touch, and I know they’ll be lifelong friends. That was one of the best things about the police academy, getting to know people who were going through the same thing as me.
“It was a good experience to have officers with experience tell us how it was going to be on the street. I loved my time at the police academy. Sometimes my friends and I joke that if they told us we had to be back at the academy tomorrow, we’d all show up at 8 a.m. and be happy to be there.
“Eastfield gave me the groundwork to go out and get a job as a police officer. I didn’t know anything about police work when I started. Our instructors were already officers, so they didn’t sugarcoat what the job would be like. It’s not like you see on TV, where you solve the crime in an hour, go out and shoot the bad guy and never do paperwork.
“A lot of the things I learned there I still use every day on the job. You have to know what laws to apply to what offense, and I would put our group at Eastfield head-to-head with students from any other police academy on how well versed we are in the law.
“I like knowing that I can get someone off the streets who doesn’t need to be there. I’m proud to say that I’m the first black officer in Rockwall to hit the streets. I’m happy with what I’m doing; I only wish I’d gotten started a little earlier so I’d have longer to do it.”
Patrol Officer John Tinsley is a graduate of Garland’s Lakeview Centennial High School. He completed Basic Peace Officer training at Eastfield's Criminal Justice Training Center in 2004 and has worked for the Rockwall Police Department since then.