Mike Broida grew up in Bakersfield and spent most of his 20s working as a DJ at parties, weddings, or any special event that needed two turn tables and microphone.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Broida, a husband and father of two, began to question his career in event planning and he realized he needed a new profession. One that would work with his family, but also one that was fulfilling.
In a leap of faith, Broida, 34, decided he wanted to become a police officer.
“I did wonder if I was a little too old to start in law enforcement,” Broida said. “But when I was being interviewed by the department, they mentioned I was the prime age. I had life experience and emotional maturity, which is important when you are out patrolling.”
With the support of his wife and the recruitment officers at Bakersfield Police Department, Broida joined the academy and had a good experience. His biggest hurdle was adapting to the chain of command environment that was vastly different than being a DJ. But life experience granted him the wisdom to know he would adjust to his new environment.
And he did.
In June, Broida graduated from the academy where he was also honored with the Physical Fitness Award, and his wife and two children cheered him on as he began a new chapter in his life.
For Broida, becoming a hometown Bakersfield police officer brings a sense of pride, especially with a supportive community that constantly reminds him how much the officers’ presence is appreciated.
“I think it’s safe to say we are thanked daily for our service by someone in the community, and they have no idea I’m a brand spanking new rookie,” Broida says. “But it helps balance out the other negative things being said out there about police officers. But none of it ever caused any pause for me. I knew I wanted to join law enforcement. I’m proud of what I get to do.”
These days, Broida and his wife are balancing their new schedules and with both of their parents living in town, they are able to help with the kids.
Broida admits he does get a thrill when he hears his 10-year-old daughter tell her friends, “My daddy is a police officer” or the way his son’s eyes light up when he comes out in his uniform.
“For anyone who is considering become a police officer later on in life, don’t let age or experience stop you from trying,” Broida said. “One of the things that makes this department so great is that we all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. So, even if you weren’t doing something in law enforcement before, don’t let it stop you. I didn’t.”