Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 8:24 a.m.
What could possess a 44-year-old man to endure marching, pushups and a lot of pain all so he might have the chance become a Spokane police officer?
It’s because Adrian Howell Jr. has always wanted to be a cop.
“Call it mid-life crisis, call it healthy thinking but I began to ask myself, ‘why did you never pursue that dream?’”
It was a dream that got derailed more than 20 years ago. Howell was studying criminal justice at North Idaho College when his girlfriend Allison got pregnant.
“We had already talked about family and it was important that she be a stay at home mom. And it was important to me to honor that, so I dropped out of school and I went to work,” explained Howell.
Putting food on the table for his growing family launched Howell’s first career in the fast food industry.
“I needed a future and McDonald’s presented a future for me for where, if you just outworked everybody, there’s a ladder and you’re going to climb it, so that was the path I took,” recalled Howell.
Howell was so successful that he ended up owning his own McDonald’s in downtown Spokane at Third Avenue and Howard Street.
But as Howell’s now adult son contemplated what courses he should take in college, Howell remembered some old advice from his father.
“Which was do something you’re passionate about. Don’t base it on money or finances. Do something you’re really passionate about and it will never feel like work and you’ll love what you do,” Howell advised.
And that’s when Howell took the biggest risk of his life.
“So I put my business up for sale, sold my business. Immediately had to go into a work out plan. Working in fast food there was about 20 pounds more of me than there is today and I went for it,” Howell said proudly.
So the next five and a half months Howell attended the Basic Law Enforcement Academy here in Spokane.
“There was no doubt he would be a great pick up for our department and he did very, very well throughout the Academy and he’s been excellent,” said Lt. Mark Griffiths of the Spokane Police Department’s Training Center.
And unlike some of his younger classmates, Howell brings a lot of seasoned skills and life experience to the police department.
“We are policing the entire community so we like people who are representative of the community they are policing. So, the more diverse we can be, the better we can be,” Griffiths added.
“I applied specifically to the Spokane police department. I wanted to work in my backyard,” Howell said of his search for a new career.
Last month, Howell and eight other future Spokane police officers graduated from the Academy.
That first child who urged Howell to resurrect his hopes of being a cop was tasked with a special honor and pinned a Spokane Police Department badge on his father’s chest.
“He motivated me and so to have him up there and pinning a badge on me and supporting dad, that was pretty special. That will always be special,” Howell said with emotion.
And so now that Officer Howell’s dream is back on track the rest of us should be able to sleep a little bit easier.
“I don’t think anybody serves at the tip of the spear in their community like a police officer does,” concluded Howell.