For Officer Aubrey Culver, working for the Lowell Police Department has meant returning to her roots. The 44-year-old grew up in Lowell, and her parents have spent their entire 48-year marriage in the community. Some residents might know her mother from her years as a teacher at the United Methodist Preschool.
Despite her strong connection to the community, Culver had to wait until more than 15 years into her law enforcement career before she was able to join the Lowell Police Department. “Smaller departments don’t have a huge force,” Culver explains. “[You go] where the jobs are.”
As a result, Culver found herself working for various departments across the region until finally, two years ago, a position opened on the LPD. Culver was hired, making her the only female officer on the force at the time. While brought on as a part-time officer, personnel changes in the department have meant she’s served mainly in a full-time capacity during her tenure on the force. That suits Culver just fine.
“I’ve had a lot of good experiences in the City of Lowell,” she says. She appreciates being able to serve the public and make connections in the community she has called home.
Law Enforcement Runs in the Family
Like many police officers, Culver is following in the footsteps of older family members. A number of people on her mother’s side of the family have worked in law enforcement, including her grandfather who was a member of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department.
Culver’s path to policing wasn’t a direct route, though, since she decided to initially pursue a different career. However, she always felt called to law enforcement and 18 years ago, she decided to follow that dream before it was too late.
At first, she was a member of the Kent County Sherriff’s Department Reserves. Then, she went on to work as an officer in Carson City and Stanton as well as with the Ionia County Sherriff’s Department. Her longest stint was with the Sparta Police Department where she spent approximately 12.5 years before coming to Lowell.
Community-Centered Service in Lowell
Law enforcement is all about creating connections with people and being ready to assist whenever needed, and Culver says that’s a priority for her and her fellow officers on the LPD.
“Lowell PD has a really good, small-city department,” she says. When officers aren’t on calls, they are quick to stop by parks to visit with kids or answer questions from residents they see around town. Those are activities that can get lost in the busyness of big-city police departments.
Still, the work isn’t all easy. While it’s rewarding to be able to pass out stickers to kids and greet people at the fair and festivals, it is more difficult to address the needs of those in distress.
“When I go [on a call], I want to help,” Culver says. However, people aren’t always receptive to assistance. Police officers may encounter residents at their lowest moments, and in those situations, it can be a struggle to find the right words and approach to ensure that someone is provided – and accepts – the support and resources they need.
Lowell Police Department Ironman
Within the LPD, officers undertake a friendly competition each year to determine which members are the best marksmen and which are the most physically fit. While Officer Ian Shears took Top Shot honors last year, Culver has been the department’s Ironman…or Ironwoman, as the case may be…for two years running.
“I love the gym,” Culver says, and her commitment to staying physically fit has meant she has bested male officers in the annual competition which measures the ability to do push-ups, sit-ups and run a mile. She adds, with a laugh, “I am required to do ‘man push-ups’ like everyone else.”
The Top Shot and Ironman honors spur some good-natured ribbing between officers, but it’s all in good fun. “The entire squad works well with each other,” Culver notes.
While there are plenty of places to pursue a law enforcement career, Culver says she feels fortunate to be in Lowell where officers are community-centered and the city and residents are supportive.