Police officers come in all shapes and sizes. They have different life experiences and their backgrounds are as varied as the people they serve. But there are a couple things most cops have in common. They truly feel like they're helping. And they enjoy the pace of the job. Kevin Doran and News 8 Photographer Jay Gardner introduce you to another one of "Rochester's Finest."
RPD Officer Joel Hasper and his partners see the "raw" side of Rochester's East side every day.
It's relentless. Running down shop-lifters. Looking for missing family members. Confronting dope dealers. Sweeping abandoned buildings. Finding stolen cars. Responding to domestics. And knocking on doors. They knock on a lot of door knocking. It's not a job for the faint of heart. Hasper isn't.
"If you're an adrenaline junky you'll love this job" says Officer Hasper. "Yeah, it's fun."
He's the kind of guy who likes to zip line, sky dive and ride the tallest roller coasters. But this 27 year old loves his family even more. Joel's been married to Natalie for 8 years, they have a son Chandler. "He's a little monster. He loves it. He always tells us that's what he's going to be when he grows up is a police officer. So."
We asked if he thinks about his family when he's on the job? "No you do, it's what motivates you. You know you go to a home where someone is being abused or there's kids that have been neglected, it's what helps you get through your day at times."
Family is never far from Hasper's mind, his own and those he meets on the job. His dad is a Minister. He's inspired by a biblical quote from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians. "You're all things to all men. You're out there, you're doing everything."
The Apostle Paul was willing to do anything to reach the lost. That's how Hasper views being a cop. "The stuff you do on a daily basis. You can literally be taking a sip of coffee and the next breath you're in a foot chase or you know in a fight with someone. You could be helping some little kid out that has some problems. You could be arresting someone for a shooting. You could be investigating a robbery. There's many things. At the end of the day there's a genuine want to help people out."
Like trying to convince young people at risk their lifestyle is dangerous. It can also be heartbreaking. Hasper today he arrested a guy who stole the tooth brushes did it to support a heroin habit. "He has been using heroin for 16 years he said."
But the positives outweigh the negatives. "You see the good in people and you know the reason for what you do is for that honest, hard working citizen."
Like helping a young mother-to-be afraid to go home after she was beat up. Or helping a family find wandering mother in-law with dementia.
He says it's sometimes hard to leave work at work. "It can be. everyone has their own routine as to how they decompress. You know there's times you bring it home with you, but for the most part you get pretty good at leaving work there. It's a mindset, it's a mentality, it's a lifestyle. It's who you are. Every night when I go home I can't go to sleep at night. I go home and get a shower, relax, just watch some TV, just chill out. You cool off and you know that you're away from it. You almost live two lives in a way, in a good way."
A little bit of downtime for cop used to running wide open. We've got more with Officer Hasper in two special Web Extras. You'll find them under News Headlines.
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