Today, we’re introducing our Hero Spotlight series where we’ll highlight incredible individuals making a difference in their communities as first-responders. We’re lucky enough to have Kevin Armbruster as our first interviewee this week.
Can you introduce yourself? Where do you work and what do you do there?
I retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after 30 years of Law Enforcement, as a Lieutenant, primarily in investigations. Now, I’m still involved in law enforcement and I am in charge of criminal investigations for the Town of East Troy. My other retirement job is consulting for the United States Department of Justice through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. They provide all training and technical assistance to law enforcement across the US and training internationally.
Typically, I travel and work with police departments to provide an assessment of their investigative/patrol processes, peer-to-peer support, training, and technical assistance. I’ll review their use of policies, technology, and evidence collection in relation to violent crime in their city. I work with prosecutors, crime labs, and local and federal partners. Essentially, I'm assigned to help them out as a subject matter expert, using best practices in law enforcement.
What's your family like? Do you have any kids?
I have three kids. Two are in college and I have a daughter who's still in high school. It's a demanding role when you're starting a family, especially, working third shift and coming home to infants with different sleep schedules. It's demanding on your entire family’s life. You don't get off on holidays, so you often miss Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other important family gatherings.
Some of the challenges are that once the kids get older and you're involved in sports, you’re juggling running around and your job. There are a lot of people in law enforcement who completely change their hours just so they can make their kids baseball or soccer games at night. There's a lot of planning and coordination going on that goes into this. I think it's important – I hope officers realize that family is the important part.
I've been married 24 years. I'm very blessed. I just know once the kids are older and independent, it just gets better and you're living your best life.
What inspired you to begin working in this field?
I thought I was going to go into the medical field. That was my interest. A friend of mine's father was a police detective. In spending time with their family and going to their house, listening to his stories and the investigations, I learned more about the job and found it really interesting.
In my youth, I was involved in Boy Scouts and the Chief of Police in Milwaukee was very involved in scouting, so I got to meet him a couple of times. Listening to the police stories and both people encouraging me to apply, I ended up doing so.
My grandfather was also in law enforcement, but he retired when I was younger. Once I started at the police department, we got to share stories about life and police work.
What has been the most memorable moment on the job for you?
I look back at my time and some of the most memorable moments have been around the people you work with and sharing the experiences with them. There were times where I really enjoyed the work — I really enjoyed it when I was in the Homicide Unit. I enjoyed the challenges of investigations. When I worked with a federal task force, that was another great time that I had. You had the autonomy to work cases and things that expanded outside of your city.
I had a great time... when you're enjoying your co-workers and enjoying coming to work, that makes your job more enjoyable. When you're a happy employee, you're a productive employee. As a supervisor, I remembered that experience enjoying work and the team atmosphere, so I tried creating that team atmosphere as a supervisor.
How do you spend your time when you're not working?
I enjoy traveling and the outdoors. I do a lot of that with my family. My kids were all big on hockey, so I coached hockey. Now, I coach high school hockey through Brookfield Central Girls Hockey. You get to volunteer more once you're out of law enforcement.
What's one thing you wish the general population knew about your job?
It's so demanding on your family life and on yourself as far as the hours and what you put in for dedication. The most important thing people don't realize is there's so much training, so much knowledge base you need to know. One minute you're a psychologist trying to help with mental health issues, the next minute you go into some type of domestic fight where you're trying to be some sort of social worker or babysitter for children.
Sometimes you're going to put your life on the line on calls where gunshots are coming back at you. The amount of training that goes in for all those different things — you're a little bit of everything.
I don't think citizens realize that officers come onto the job to help people, to make a difference in their community. We all want to make an impact on the community, we all want to make it better.
Anew Advisors Supports First Responders
Thanks to Kevin for sharing his incredible story! Anew Advisors is dedicated to supporting first responders in our local Milwaukee community and beyond. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see more of our Hero Spotlights!
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