From Blocking Shots to Saving Lives
By: Symantha Marrero, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, email@example.com
It’s almost every kid’s dream to become a college athlete or a police officer. One woman in particular has a shot to fulfill both of those dreams.
Melanie Kempf, a 20-year-old student at Penn State Brandywine, is your average girl. She loves to listen to music, spend time with friends and family and to be active. There’s a catch—she’s a 6-foot center who’s on the path to becoming a state trooper.
A college athlete typically plays for the duration of their time at school, which four years. Kempf’s time on the basketball court, as well as in the classroom, has been cut two years short because of her upcoming task.
The process to become a Pennsylvania State Trooper is rigorous and exhausting. Not only do physical demands need to be met, but also written exams and polygraphs are expected to be passed as well. Once these expectations are completed, the final stage is the academy, where cadets partake in hardcore physical training, in addition to police training for six months.
The physical training includes an intense amount of running, pull-ups, push-ups, lifting and even swimming. The police training, which will likely be Kempf’s favorite part of the time spent at the academy, includes how and when to use a firearm, how to drive a police vehicle properly, how to “cuff” people, as well as selfdefense.
Perhaps the best part of the entire process is graduating from the academy and starting the first “assignment,” wherever that may be. Finishing this semester at Brandywine brings Kempf that much closer to her goal.
Kempf reminisced about leaving the game of basketball behind.
“Since I was able to walk, I always had a basketball with me,” Kempf said. “Now, it’s like I’m losing a piece of me that had always been there.”
Kempf starts for the Lady Lions and averages just under 18 minutes a game. She’s a huge factor in the team’s success. Basketball isn’t her only talent, however. She also played on the women’s volleyball and soccer teams at Brandywine.
“Mel has the biggest heart I know,” former teammate Colleen Kennedy said. “She gives her all at anything she sets her mind to. I think she’s going to make the perfect police officer.”
Ride-alongs are what sealed the deal for Kempf. After researching and being inspired by family members in the force, Kempf began going on ride-alongs and quickly learned just what it takes to be a police officer.
“Going on these ride-alongs have assured me this is what I’m supposed to do,” Kempf said contently.
From gruesome scenes of suicides to speeding over 85 MPH to chase down a wanted man, Kempf wants it all.
“This is what I’m supposed to do, protect and serve my community, family, friends, everyone,” Kempf said. “I see myself being a police officer within the next two years, ideally a PA state trooper. As long as I’m a police officer, I’ll be happy!”
Until then, she’ll settle with making baskets on the hardwood.