By Gizelle Fletcher
The Seattle Medium
Seattle Police Officer Carmen Best was recently promoted to the rank of Captain and has been assigned to the Seattle Police Department’s South Precinct.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Best says she applied to become a police officer on a whim rather than a lifelong desire to work in law enforcement.
“I chose to become a police officer because I was at a point in my life where I wanted to try something new,” says Best. “I didn’t know if I was going to stay here or not, or that I would be right here where I am 21 years later.”
Best values her role as a police officer with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and has made the best of her tenure, and made long-lasting contributions to her community.
Over the course of her career, Best has worked in many positions within the department including: patrol supervisor, school safety and as media relations department spokeswoman. Most recently, she has been detailed to community outreach where she spent three years working in and with youth outreach, crime stoppers, demographic advisory council and false alarm among others.
In August of this year, SPD recognized her hard work and dedication, as Best was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain.
“I am very excited, as would be anyone who has been with an organization for so long,” says Best of her promotion.
To prepare for her position, Captain Best underwent training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center, as does every officer at the beginning of her career. Later, she went on to train at the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston in 2006 and at the FBI National Academy in 2011.
“Working with the community is the most rewarding thing,” Best says when asked about the most rewarding part of her job. “The things that motivate and excite me are working with the people, the community, in whatever capacity.”
Though she will be working in a different capacity, Best assures The Medium that as Captain, just like her role as Lieutenant, she will still be working with the people. “You never lose community,” says Best. “We still have to figure out what is going on, what the problems are and how to fix them.”
Holding many positions with different missions and working alongside diverse groups of people, Best’s desire for “something different” 21 years ago has been fulfilled working with the Seattle Police Department.
As a woman of color on the force, Captain Carmen Best does her job to the best of her ability.
“Being a woman of color on the force is much like being a woman of color in any other establishment,” says Best. “You know that you are noticed more because there are so few of you. So, I do my job to best of my ability and worry about myself.”
Best hopes that more women of color and people from the communities get involved in law enforcement.
“People may not think of it as a possible career, but it is. There are a vast number of positions, leadership roles, and ways of making a difference,” she says. “I believe we can make a difference in the community from the inside out.”