Posted by: tampachamber on Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tina Cotton Assistant Vice President, Financial Foundations - USAA  Leadership Tampa Class of 2013 Law Enforcement Day was an awesome experience.  Prior to the actual day was the  opportunity to ride along with a Tampa police officer.  During my ride-a-long, what was evident was the care, compassion and respect our officers have for those they serve.  The ride-a-long was a real-time experience that allowed me to get into the day of the officer.  We had a few traffic stops and a stolen car  incident.   The story of the officer I rode along with was inspiring.  She grew up always wanting to be a police officer.  She was discouraged by her family because of the risks associated with the job.  She went into the teaching field and while she enjoyed it, after 5 years she still wanted to fulfill her dream of being a police officer.  She continued to teach and put herself through the academy on her own. On Law Enforcement Day, the actual activities were equally inspiring.  We received a tour of the correctional facility and again upon interaction with inmates and staff, the care, compassion and respect was evident.   The knowledge of the officers as they gave the tour was incredible.  The other aha moment for me was the collaboration between the agencies, i.e. Tampa Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department, Public Defender and State Attorney.  It was good to know that their common mission is to ensure justice and fairness.   The opportunity to be able to ask questions during an open panel with these leaders was a real coup in terms of being exposed to some of the great leadership minds in our community. The opportunity to be a part of events such as these and learn more about our community was one of the primary reasons I wanted to be a part of Leadership Tampa.  Other reasons would be the opportunity to get to know other colleagues within the community.  This will in turn help me continue to enhance my development and growth as a leader.  I want to be able to give back to the community and being a part of this program will allow me to do so. I have not been disappointed and this program in a short time has exceeded my expectations!