Fulfilling A Life-long Dream to Become a Police Officer

Written by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund on .

For Denise Cummings, being a police officer was a life-long dream. Inspired by her Uncle Nick, an officer with the Cicero (IL) Police Department, she applied with the Aurora (CO) Police Department when she was 25. At the time, there were only 20 openings, and she was the 42nd applicant. Undaunted, she decided to become a reserve officer, a voluntary position that she hoped would help improve her chances of being hired the next time.

After four months of reserve training, she received word that the Aurora Police Department would be hiring more officers. Just three days after graduating from reserve training, she enrolled in the police academy and went through the department’s first Field Training Officer (FTO) program.

“I had a substitute FTO during my training for just one night and he scared me, and I did not like him at all. Three years later, I married him! Talk about life changing! We had three children together.” She and Officer Dave Cummings eventually worked together so often that the Denver Post wrote an article about the couple. Their photo appeared on the front cover of the paper’s Sunday Magazine in 1990. “There was a three-page article with photos of us and our daily routine as they followed us from home to daycare and to work.”

“The hardest thing I ever had to do was handling SIDS death cases because in 1993, my own son Nicholas Joseph Cummings died of SIDS.” After the death of her five-month-old son, she enrolled in a SIDS training program in Colorado to help others who lost a child in that manner.
Officer Denise Cummings spent a year as a patrol officer and also worked the graveyard shift for several years on the police department’s DUI task force. “During that time, I got my nose broken twice (requiring surgery both times), due to drunks and a PCP suspect.” She became an FTO, training recruits to do the job she loved. Hers is just one officer’s story.


 For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, please visit lawmemorial.org. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, please visit lawenforcementmuseum.org.

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