Officer Uses City Experience to Serve Plymouth
From Roxborough to Temple, Officer Copestick's time in Philadelphia has informed his work in Plymouth.
Officer Doug Copestick experienced some culture shock when he first joined the Plymouth Police Department in 2007.
“When I first came, there was an adjustment period,” he said. “I had to write a lot more traffic tickets here. At my last job, we didn’t write many tickets because there was usually something more important going on.”
Plymouth represented a bit of a slow down in action for him.
“I worked the overnight shift at Temple University,” he said. “11 p.m. to 7 a.m.”
Considering that area of the city’s reputation, one would assume that it was no dream posting for Copestick. However, he recalls his time there fondly.
“I liked it a lot,” he said. “I was 23-years-old and it was a fun shift for a guy my age to work.”
His time at Temple informed his current position as a plain-clothes officer in the special investigations division of the Plymouth police force.
The appeal for him is “the action.”
“If you are on patrol, you can be in a car for 12 hours straight,” he said. “That’s not always so fun. In plain clothes, I get to be more proactive. I work a lot of narcotics and prostitution cases; anything where plain clothes is needed.”
Copestick credits his time in the Philadelphia school system in Roxborough, where he grew up, as a boon to his skills as a police officer.
“I can fit in a little better on the street,” he said. “I can call back and lapse into a certain way of speaking or way of carrying myself.”
While Copestick wasn’t always sure how he wanted to serve, he knew since attending college that he wanted to apply his time toward “something that mattered.”
“I wanted to do something positive with my life,” he said. “I was trying to find some direction and I thought that being a police officer would be a good job and that I would be good at it.”
So far, the job has given him the sense of purpose that he was looking for.
“It feels good to give back to the community,” he said. “There isn’t as much (drugs and prostitution) in Plymouth Meeting as there is in Philly, but when you talk to someone who has lived next to a dealer or someone who has had an addiction their whole life, it matters. I wanted my life to have meaning and this feels good.”
After his initial surprise, Copestick says he likes working in Plymouth. He says the police department here has less day-to-day headaches of working with a department as large as Philadelphia’s.
“There’s more to cover in the city so it could be hard to even get working equipment,” he said. “This is a great department. They take care of you here, they’ve got good equipment and it’s a great department. I don’t plan to leave.”
Note: Due to the nature of his work, Officer Copestick asked not to be photographed for this story.