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College to Career: My First Job as a Deputy Sheriff

By June 24, 2020Alumni, STU News

At St. Thomas University, we are committed to the success of our students inside and outside of the classroom. Our College to Career series will feature and celebrate  STU Bobcats and their internship and first job experiences. Get to know STU Bobcat,Brandi Bunker, and about her first job experience as a Deputy Sheriff!

  1. Name: Brandi Bunker
  2. Major: Criminal justice with a minor in psychology.
  3. Graduation Year: 2018.
  4. Where do your work and what is your title? I currently work for the Orange County Sheriffs Office in Orlando, Florida where I am a Deputy Sheriff.
  5. How did you find out about your job and secure it? I found out about my job by browsing through the Orange County Sheriffs Office a week after graduating. At first, I had no intention of applying because i had plans to attend graduate school at UCF. My mentor told me to apply just to see what would happen. The following Monday I was on my way to my first interview with them. Afterward, I had several interviews with some Majors, Deputies, and Corporals. I underwent a swim test, a voice stress analysis, a physical to be sponsored/hired by them. After all the interviews and test, I received my conditional offer and was signed up for the police academy. The police academy consisted of school work, physical and defensive training, shooting training, first aid, and driving. After completing the 5-month academy I studied for the state exam. I passed my exam and was sworn in by Sheriff Mina to officially become a Deputy. After being sworn in, I began 9 more weeks of training to learn about the Orange County Sheriffs Office policies and procedures. After that, 16 weeks of training followed but this time, on the road. I was out in the field working in real-life situations with people. My first year was under mandatory probation, but I’m happy to say, my probationary year has passed and I have secured my position.
  6. What does a day at work look like? There isn’t really a “typical day” when you’re a deputy or police officer. There have been some days where I’ve taken 4 to 5 reports and other days in which I don’t take a report at all. Some days I respond to a shoplifter at a store and other days I’m responding to more serious crimes. I typically work from 2:00pm to 1:30am. I stay out late to provide back-up for our other squads if they need it. I usually only work 15 days out of the month. I spend the remaining 15 days either at home or working at Disney Springs for extra income. The hours are definitely crazy, but the time flies when you’re having fun.
  7. What’s your favorite part about your job? My favorite part about my job is not knowing what my day will consist of,  no day is the same. My “desk” is my assigned police car and I get to meet new people every day. At my agency alone I’ve had the chance to meet amazing people and have made very close friends.
  8. What challenges have you faced at your first job and how have you overcome them?  My main challenge at work is facing the unknown. You never know what situation you may enter or who you may encounter. I push through by making sure I never get too comfortable. My first sergeant always told us, “There is no growth in comfort.” Once you become complacent, bad things can happen. The things I see and hear are also another challenge. I’ve seen things people outside of my profession wouldn’t normally encounter. I didn’t believe other deputies when they said I would dream about the things I encounter at work, but it’s definitely true. We all cope with things differently and manage to get through it together but that’s a huge challenge not only for myself but other law enforcement. 
  9. How does your job connect back to your coursework and extracurricular activities at STU? My time as a student and softball player at STU prepared me for my career in several ways. STU taught me the discipline that I need now to stay on top of my reports, set court dates, manage evidence, write in-depth reports for detectives to use for research and many other things required of me in my role. As a student athlete, I learned a lot about time management which I use in my role now daily.
  10. What advice do you have for Bobcats that are starting the job hunt? The best advice I can give to anyone looking for their first job is to never stop seeking opportunities to grow. Whether it be your first job or your tenth job, always make sure you’re growing and learning. Also, don’t ever take things for granted and know that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Also, if you mess up, fess up. You do not want to be caught in a situation that can cause you your job, plus it’s important to be honest about the areas you can continue to grow in. Lastly, always make time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the job and forget about yourself. But nothing is more important that your physical and mental health.
  11. Describe your job in a GIF?


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Interested in sharing your internship or first job experience with STU News? Reach out to Michelle Tulande at

Michelle Tulande

Author Michelle Tulande

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