Sarah Bell, Public Service Officer II

Sarah Bell, Public Service Officer II
Posted on 10/28/2022

Getting engaged. Planning a wedding. Then suddenly having five kids. It’s been nearly two years since Lenexa Police Department Public Service Officer II (PSO) Sarah Bell got married to her husband, Jeremy, and became a stepmom to their five children, ages four to 12 years old.

“I love working with kids, especially when they’re younger,” she said. “But transitioning to being responsible for them was a really big change. The first few years is supposed to be about you guys [as a couple] building your relationship and then you have kids. We just did it all at once but it’s a lot of fun.”

Sarah approaches work much like her recent life change — with an open mind, helpful outlook and attentiveness.

Connecting a citizen with the appropriate county services. Handling record requests. Processing paperwork for a report. Sarah is typically the first person you see when you enter the police department lobby.

“You need to have the ability to talk to all kinds of people and keep a calm attitude,” she said. “I could have three people waiting in the lobby. One needs fingerprints. One needs a report. One has a question.”

Two internships — one with a local organization to counter sexual assault and another with the Lenexa Police Department — helped Sarah get more comfortable dealing with the public and handling situations.

“I was taking calls on the crisis line twice a week which was completely out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I’m not very outgoing — I don’t put myself in uncomfortable situations like that — but it really helped, especially doing what I do now.”

When she completed her three-month crime analyst internship with the Lenexa Police Department in 2015, Sarah quickly applied for an open PSO position.

Sarah Bell professional headshot photo.“I knew I wanted a career in law enforcement, I just didn’t know where I’d fit in,” she said. It was apparent that the police department supports each employee’s family life, and professional and personal goals, offering many experiences and training opportunities. I wanted to be part of that.”

Three years into the job, Sarah was ready to become a police officer.

“I put in for patrol, did the interviews, got the position, went to the academy and graduated,” she said.

But during training, Sarah quickly realized patrol wasn’t for her.

“Some issues came apparent during field training,” she said. “I had a lack of command presence, and we did different trainings to try to work on it, but ultimately, it just wasn't for me.”

Sarah was offered her PSO position back and she took it. Relying on her faith became essential during that transition time.

“When I reconnected with that part of my life, I was able to kind of get through this and see it as not so much as a failure but as an experience,” she said. “I think my relationship with God and knowing who I am, made me see that my value isn't what I can accomplish at my job or in a career. It's in who I am in Christ and my family, and just my life accomplishments.”

Sarah strives to live in a way that honors God daily.

“I want to walk in love with everybody,” she said. “I want to be that person that when I come into work, I'm not bringing it down. I'm going to be uplifting, walk in love and encourage people, which to me comes from my faith.”

Sarah’s not the only civilian working at the department who has applied or transferred to a different position at the station. There are many employment opportunities, and she encourages those looking for a law enforcement related career to get started in any position.

“The public service officer position is vital to the everyday working of the police department,” she said. “We process a lot of paperwork and complete clerical duties, but we also take reports, interview people, investigate certain crimes and assist the public in other ways. There is always something interesting going on.”

Regardless of her journey with her law enforcement career, Sarah is proud to wear the Lenexa Police Department badge and be part of the family.

“People see me now and they don't think of me as someone who’s timid, but before this job and the police academy, I absolutely was.” My co-workers are like family and close friends. During a shift, you're sometimes with them more than your own family.”

Sarah Bell with her husband, five kids and one niece.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys drawing, playing soccer with her kids and reaching personal records for fitness and weightlifting. She recently completed an Olympic weightlifting training program that she uses to train co-workers with.

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Published Oct. 28, 2022