Shane Mendez is a proud family man, a current graduate student, and a police officer in the city of Crookston, Minn. When he has free time he spends it with his wife and three children. He’s also a ferocious reader, plays the guitar and the drums, and loves taking long walks on the beach when he’s not in Crookston. Mendez sees every day as a success and an adventure. As someone who grew up from a troubled home, he is continuously grateful to be alive and to see where the adventure of life will take him next.
Crookston is where Mendez grew up. As a young man, he decided to travel around the world for a whole decade and spent four years on the island of Crete in Greece. Some of that time traveling was spent in the U.S. Navy as a military police officer. Upon returning home, Mendez decided to attend UMN Crookston to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement aviation.
As a non-traditional student, Mendez had an experience that was different than most. He was older than other undergraduate students and was married with a full-time job. It shows that anyone, no matter the situation, can get their education and make some friends along the way. Mendez would like to give a shout out to his advisor David Seyfried, and friends Terry Bayne, Matthew Beattie, and Blaine Goering. Mendez said he received a great education, which was a great complement to his experience as a military police officer. Mendez feels the education he received from UMN Crookston has helped him become a well-rounded person.
Mendez enjoys the quote, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Rather than picking a career that seems cool or has great pay, Mendez encourages students to do research and shadow people who have the jobs in the field they’re looking at. In the police world they call them ride-alongs, giving students a chance to go along with an officer to experience a day in the life.
As a police officer, Mendez works long hours and often nights, weekends, and holidays. It’s a tough job in and of itself and it’s not for the faint of heart. Mendez feels that people who go into this field need to know what they’re getting into, be properly educated, trained, and be passionate about the work. Mendez said less and less people are going into law enforcement which is unfortunate. Now more than ever, law enforcement needs people who are passionate about justice, their communities, and feel called to stand on the thin blue line.
Written for the Fall 2020 Torchlight e-Newsletter.