Bakersfield police officer finds side hustle in self-help for the business minded


Bakersfield Police Detective Aaron Watkins is a firm believer in the saying “dress for the job you want,” which is why on most days Watkins puts on a suit, picks out a tie, and wears his best shoes.

“I love dressing up, you feel more confident and that’s where success starts, it starts in the mind,” Watkins said.

For the last 8 years, Watkins has been making his way through the ranks at Bakersfield Police Department. He loves what he does and has found his calling in helping people.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Watkins found another way to help people when he wrote a self-improvement book called “Interview Strategies that Workand followed it up with his latest release, “New Era of Leadership: Starts with You.”

The book was inspired by all of the workplace changes that were happening in a post-pandemic world, and Watkins wanted to share his expertise to help people who were going to have to go out and get new jobs.  

“When I started interviewing people for this book, it was during COVID, people were losing jobs, and I wanted to provide a simplified way to get the job,” Watkins shared. “I looked at my own career, and how I prepared to go from officer to senior officer to detective and you really have to ask yourself ‘What do you bring to the table?’”

His book “Interview Strategies that Work” came out at the end of 2020, and he began writing his next book, “New Era of Leadership: Starts with You” in 2021.

“I knew that I eventually wanted to write books,” Watkins said. “I had this vision of a supplemental textbook where I can help people achieve their success. I got really serious about it and sat down and just started writing them.”

Becoming a Police Officer 

The 30-year-old Bakersfield detective has been working in the law enforcement field since he was 21. Raised by a mom who is a social worker and a father who is an associate vice chancellor for the Kern Community College District, Watkins feels at home in the world of education.

“When I was going to college, I thought I would go into the medical field,” Watkins said. “It seemed like the right path for me. But my mom asked me one day, ‘why are you going into the medical field when all you do is watch the show ‘Cops’?’” 

It was a truth he couldn’t deny.

He majored in Criminal Justice at California State University, Bakersfield and he began to think about a life in law enforcement.

After graduating from college, he moved to Los Angeles, where his cousin was a police officer patrolling Compton. Watkins went into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy, graduated, and spent a few years in patrol and later community relations. He considered staying at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department but started to think it was time to come home.

Watkins decided to transfer to the Bakersfield Police Department, while also going to school to earn a master’s degree in public administration. He now teaches three courses at Bakersfield College, including Forensics and Criminal Justice.

Bakersfield Police Detective Aaron Watkins is a firm believer in the saying “dress for the job you want,” which is why on most days Watkins puts on a suit, picks out a tie, and wears his best shoes.

“I had an interview a few years ago when I applied for the Senior Officer position at Bakersfield PD, and one of the questions was what you have done to prepare yourself for a leadership position,” Watkins shared. “And the answer is, I didn’t just become a leader when I became a police officer, I grew up this way. And this was what I wanted to share in my book, ‘New Era of Leadership’”

Watkins is busy with his detective work, teaching college courses and trying to look for ways to share his book with local organizations and nonprofits. But as someone always looking ahead to the next goal, he is already considering his next book idea.

“I’d like to write a college textbook with my mom next,” Watkins said. 

You can find Aaron Watkin’s books on Amazon:

Interview Strategies that Work

 New Era of Leadership: Starts with You