When she started becoming friendly with cops nobody wanted to invite her to any gatherings anymore.
That’s when Kiara Riser started losing friends in high school, at the cost of her friendships.
“Nobody wants to be friends with someone really close to a police officer,” Riser recalled of the teenage drama. “Everybody looks at the police negatively.”
When she was 16, Riser became close to Case High School’s school resource officer, Justine Justman. She now considers Justman to be a mother figure. To Riser’s friends, it didn’t make sense why anyone would want to be a cop. In the City of Racine, in the county seat of Racine County, Wisconsin, United States, on the shore of Lake Michigan where she grew up, it was more normal to distrust and hate cops than it was to trust them.
“I don’t think I had interactions with police as a kid,” she told The Journal Times of Racine. “The whole stigma growing up was: ‘You don’t like the police.’”
Riser, who is now 21, doesn’t care. For nearly six years she has known that she wanted to wear a badge. She wants to be for someone else what Justman, who is now a detective, has been for her.
Soon, Riser will have that chance, as she has just been appointed Caledonia's 1st Black female officer.
Her story gives her city some chance to look at the police differently, in particular, if a black woman is the one to take the lead. Currently, the police in the United States, and many other places around the world, has not being seen very positively after the brutal murder of George Floyd who was killed in Minneapolis in May in police custody.
However, she is determined to make a change and to make people in her city to regain trust in the police, without being targeted and defined only for the violence that many, too many, black people and those from ethnic communities, suffer on a common basis.