Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt High School and Liberty Ranch High School graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at email@example.com or Bonnie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a 2018 report, in 2017, less than 13 percent of police officers in the U.S. were women. But, for Allison Duffy, who grew up seeing her father working alongside female officers at the Stockton Police Department, there was no question that she would be one of the few.
“I always wanted to do this,” Duffy said. “I was a little girl when I saw [my dad’s partner]. I thought that, wow, if this beautiful woman could do it, then I could do it too.”
Duffy attended Galt High School and graduated in the spring of 2011 as part of Galt High School’s 99th graduating class. She swam all four years and served as the rally coordinator for the school’s leadership class, an experience Duffy credits as having helped her become more outgoing.
With her sights already set on a career as a police officer, she enrolled in classes at Cosumnes River College and then California State University, Sacramento while she waited to be old enough to attend the police academy. But, with a six-year graduation expectancy and ever mounting student loans, she decided not to continue with school and instead focus on getting accepted into the police academy.
Duffy was hired by the Stockton Police Department in November 2015 and attended the academy at San Joaquin Delta College in the summer of 2016.
“I chose Stockton for a few reasons,” she explained. “One, my dad and my uncle both worked there. Two, it’s a young department, so you have a lot more opportunity there. There’s a lot of special assignments you can go into, and you can gain seniority there really fast. So, as a person stepping into the field, I thought it was a great place to start.”
Since graduating from the academy, Duffy has worked the graveyard patrol shift and was assigned to undercover work for a time. She has now moved back to patrol, working third watch, which she says is a great fit for her schedule.
“You’re responding to calls, keeping the community safe, proactive enforcement – that’s your tickets, checking by parks – and doing the duties that come with the calls,” Duffy said. “It’s all just protecting the people of Stockton.”
Duffy has found that, since she is often younger than the people she is called to help, she doesn’t draw so much on life experience as she does those jobs she had while she was waiting to start her career.
“I think everything kind of relates to police work because you do so many different things,” she said. “Customer service is a big thing. Police work is customer service. It also has helped me talking to people because I was a waitress and I had to talk to people all the time – all different types of people and all different levels of happiness or anger.”
She also finds that she draws on her seven years of experience as a lifeguard in high stress and emergency situations.
Despite all the challenges that come with the job, particularly in Stockton where the crime rate is more than twice as high as the national average, Duffy doesn’t regret her choice to become a police officer. She sees every day as a learning experience and takes pride in being able to help people who need it.
“There’s not instant gratification, but I’ve gotten letters thanking me. You don’t even think that you’re making a difference at that point, but you really did,” Duffy said.