A woman in blue: The life of a Female BGSUPD Officer


Falcon Media Staff

Photo of BGSUPD Officer Carly Snyder.

Kerrigan Stark, Reporter

With today’s overall approval ratings of law enforcement being only 26 percent from a 2021 Pew Research Center poll, you wouldn’t expect a police officer to talk so candidly about going to therapy.

After working for the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Campus Police for over six years, Carly Snyder has seen a few things. 

Things like students struggling with depression and drinking problems, but also a community who looks up to her as a mother figure and a person to call for help. She’s been tearing down the status quo around law enforcement for years, and she says she’s only just begun.

This urge to revolutionize policing started at a young age for Snyder. She says she was only six years old when she realized this is what she is meant to do. 

Snyder holds a master’s in Criminal Justice Administration and has received additional education to hold multiple roles as a policewoman. She wears many hats as a Crisis Intervention Coordinator, Drug Recognition Expert, Sobriety Test Instructor, and Field Training Officer for new hires.

As the Crisis Intervention Coordinator, Snyder is called whenever someone is struggling with their mental health. This could be general depression, anxiety attacks or even suicide attempts. Her biggest goal is to give them the proper care they need.

”I do all of the follow-ups and make sure they are being connected with the right resources and try to get the most help for these people,” said Snyder.

Working as a drug recognition expert means she is trained to use a 12-step process to figure out if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and identify the substance. Snyder understands how both drugs and mental health go hand-in-hand.

“We see somebody using substances because they’re trying to self-medicate from their mental illness or vice versa,” she said.

She even admitted to struggling with her own mental health.

“There are times when I need to see my therapist more frequently, and other times it’s a ‘see you in two months’ type of thing. It’s the same as going to the gym, or getting your yearly checkup with the doctor. It’s just maintaining that healthy mental health of your own,” she shared.

A big struggle she has had to face is leaving her 13-week-old daughter at home. She had just gotten off maternity leave at the time, so her baby was at home without her. 

“I’m a police officer. Anything could happen to me at any time. I’m not just kissing my husband goodbye every day anymore. I’m saying it to my daughter as well,” said Snyder.

She explained her biggest fears are the possibility of leaving her daughter without a mom and her husband without a wife.

“I don’t want to leave my daughter without a mom and I don’t want to leave my husband without a wife. The idea of not coming home to my kid and my husband breaks my heart,” she said.

Snyder is quick to mention, though that while being back to work brings an air of uncertainty, she doesn’t have any desire to be a stay-at-home mom.

“I get why people don’t want to come back into this type of career field, but staying at home and solely caring for my children isn’t in my cards,” she said.

Snyder feels as if she lost her sense of identity after becoming a mom, and seeing others around her going to work made her excited to return. She’s even been applying for higher-up positions like a detective. While she hasn’t received any promotions yet, she continues to be optimistic.

“I’ve applied for it before, but unfortunately it wasn’t my time to get that position. Hopefully, the next time it comes up, I’ll apply again and just keep trying at it,” said Snyder.

Her supervisor, Lieutenant Jennifer Emptage, says she appreciates her ambition.

“She’s a self-motivated individual who is always willing to take on new challenges. She’s constantly striving to exceed expectations,” said Lieutenant Emptage.

Even though campus police officers hold the same amount of arresting power as regular police officers, Snyder doesn’t focus on that. Her passion is in helping people.

“Is it nice to put away a bad person because they’re hurting people? Yes, but my love is that I’m helping people,” she shared.

This is something that her husband loves about her. In a piece that he wrote titled “My Wife is a Cop”, he explained just that.

“Having a wife in law enforcement is tough, but also respectable, virtuous and honorable. To be proud of their accomplishments and integrity, impressed with their undaunted courage, humbled by their love and care for others and their sacrifices, to be comforted by the safety they bring our community, and to be fearful of the risks they take each day,” in the piece.

With a newborn daughter and an urge to help the community even more than before, Snyder says she is excited to see how her life unfolds. 

One thing is certain, though. She is determined to be the positive change in policing.

“It can’t always be fixed from the outside. We need people on the inside doing their best and trying to change the world for the better,” said Snyder.