Sunday, August 10, 2008

Johnson In Training

If you are enjoying the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at the Olympics in Beijing as I am, especially in the swimming arena (more on that later), you might like this local story of lady who competed last week…

Johnson didn’t complete her Fall semester of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) last year. She had too much on her plate to devote to the intense studies and physical training the program demands. In January she came back to do it all over again. Looking good, too. Overall, she’s more than forty pounds lighter than she was a year ago and looks marvelous, even when she’s drenched in sweat. Johnson wants to be a police officer and she’s almost there. We’ve nicknamed her Nikki Parker but I still call her Johnson.

Before graduation in May, she didn’t pass the POPAT (Police Officer Physical Agility Test) along with two other female recruits. She tripped and fell while dragging a victim at the end of the test. With guidance from her training Sergeant she worked towards her goal every summer morning. I’ve seen her working alone indoors and outdoors, giving her a thumbs-up every day and a few pretzel rods afterwards in my office. In late July she had a diagnostic test. We were there to encourage her.


Johnson challenged the clock with all she had but lost her oxygen and fell short twenty seconds at 7:20 minutes. Still smiling, she said, “It’s OK. I want it real bad and I’m gonna have it.”

On Friday, August 8th, she was ready for her second diagnostic test. I was nervous. Here’s the test, in consecutive order:

Exit police cruiser.
Run 1/10 mile back to cruiser.
Drag 150 lb. victim 75 feet.
Jog stairs three times.
Break through 50 lb. doorway.
Do twenty legal push-ups (the real ones, not sissy ones).
Do twenty legal sit-ups (the real ones, not sissy ones).
Jog stairs three times again.
Crawl quickly through a seventy-foot tunnel.
Do twenty legal push-ups again.
Do twenty legal sit-ups again.
Run 1/10 mile and back to cruiser again.
Drag 150 lb. victim 75 feet again.
At the end, shout the name of a street intersection the Sergeant tells you to remember at the beginning of the test.

Required time: Under 7 minutes. (Are you tired yet?)

Here are photos from Friday morning.




Sergeant commands, “Keep your head up!”

Sergeant commands, “Hold on to your shirt and get moving!”

Almost to the finish and we’re screaming, “Breathe, Nikki Parker! You can do this!”

Finish! 6:49 minutes! We hooted and hollered. Awesome to shave 30 seconds off your time. Her body and mind are strong.

A few of her classmates were there…


You got it, girl.



Johnson’s Olympic prelim pose. Made it to the finals.

She knows she can do it now.

Her official final is scheduled later this month. Stay tuned…


NCmountainwoman said...

That smile says it all, doesn't it? What a refreshing post.

beckie said...

Such courage! I honestly don't think I have ever had that kind of determination and will power. A very uplifting story-one that gives us all hope that we can do what we set out to do. Very well told, Mary. You had me cheering and holding my breath all the way!

Mary C said...

Mary, that is so cool to see Johnson succeeding. Wow! Such determination. Kudos to Johnson!

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary! This was a heart warming - uplifting story. Way to go Nikki Parker. Just proves that when we women set our minds to something, nothing will stop us.
She is one lucky lady having you and everyone else supporting and cheering her on. Lisa

Corey said...

That was a cool story Mary, you're oozing pride for her!

Beth said...

What a great post--I felt like we were right there cheering her on. I like determination and she's is determination.

KGMom said...

If ever there were a time to say--YOU GO GIRL--this is it.
Yay for "Johnson"!

JeanMac said...

How sweet of you to let us "follow" her journey. She will be an awesome officer - fought so hard for it. thanks for your sharing her story!

Ruth said...

I like stories about ordinary people with extraordinary drive to achieve their goals. Good for her. I think she has already proved what she is made of.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I got goose bumps for her!!

Rose said...

Congratulations to Ms. Johnson, aka Nikki Parker! She's an inspiration to everyone, showing that determination and hard work can lead you to reach your dreams.
Of course, no amount of training could help me pass this test:)

Jayne said...

Yay Johnson! Whooo hooooo! You go girl!!!!!!!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Laughing out loud, all teary at the end--what a post and what a woman. Your love for Johnson--her vulnerability and courage--shines through in every shot. Well done!! What an inspiration she is.

Kerri Farley said...

She is an inspriration!! Thanks for sharing!!

Beth said...

I'm proud of her, just reading this. GREAT POST!

Please tell her 'congratulations' from a proud fan in VA!!

Anonymous said...

Her story brings tears to my eyes! Give her a big congratulations from an Indianapolis reader!


I love your photos, especially when they include hummingbirds.

Mary said...

Thank you, Anon from Indianapolis! Glad you enjoyed this story - so many of us can relate to a woman's story. I'll share more about Johnson later. Love hummingbirds? More on that, later, too.


Debbie said...

What an accomplishment! Congratulations to Johnson.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Johnson is a star! Thank you for sharing her story with all of us.
I am so impressed with her determination.
More great Hummers?
Hope so.

dguzman said...

way to go, Johnson!

Anonymous said...

As an old CPCC BLET School Director, I say CONGRATS to her!!!!! I remember cheering cadet on like that, watching the clock AND being the dummy they would drag! It seems like only yesterday. That story brought back many wonderful CPCC BLET memories. I miss you all! Tell Sgt. Moore to keep up the great work. Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are better places because you guys at CPCC care so much about your cadets and about the other first responders you spend countless hours training. I'm proud of you all.