They say if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. Nearly 23 years into Lieutenant Traci Ruiz’s career at the Lansing Police Department, she can wholeheartedly say she loves her job.
Ruiz has worked in various areas for the Lansing Police Department since 1996. She is currently handling internal needs and services within the department, as well as overseeing the Lansing detention facility and many other functions at their headquarters.
“There is no set day in law enforcement which is what makes it fun and exciting at times,” said Ruiz. “You don’t ever know what to expect from day to day, so you never get bored.”
The Lansing native has had an interest in law enforcement since she was a child. During her undergraduate years at Michigan State University, she discovered a program that would help shape her career. Law Enforcement Exploring is a statewide career orientation program put on by different agencies that allow youth interested in careers in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system to come into one of many agencies and experience it all first hand. At 21, Ruiz became an advisor for the program.
Ruiz credits her resources and guidance from Lansing Community College and Michigan State University for helping navigate her way into a career she cares so deeply about.
She is a firm believer that by giving back to society can make a place a better environment to live, work, and play; a motto Ruiz and her colleagues live by in Lansing. She prides herself on giving back to the community she has called home her entire life.
“The most rewarding part is to know there are so many people I can give back to, or help out, whether it’s a time of crisis or whether they wanted to make progress in the community,” said Ruiz. “I feel very blessed to work in a community that is so engaging in our department. I am very lucky.”
One aspect of her job she is most passionate about is the Lansing Police Department’s self-defense department, of which she has trained both police recruits and community members. Because of her love and commitment to Lansing, she finds great satisfaction in helping people feel safe. Regardless of gender, disabilities or age of those she is helping, Ruiz enjoys producing a service to her community that can help everyone feel protected.
To young women considering law enforcement, Ruiz wants it to make known this job is a full-time commitment, but you truly get out what you put into this field. She is genuinely happy with her years with the Lansing Police Department and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There are definitely highs and lows; when you have a family, you have to juggle midnight shifts for a long time and try to carry out being a mom and other parental duties that come with that,” said Ruiz. “The reward far exceeds any negative you could come up with, and that reward is making this a career as much as you want it to be one.”