RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Officer Cherise Phillips with the Riviera Beach Police Department said policing is a calling.
"I think I'm respected here. I try to deescalate a lot of situations when people are distraught or angry I try to make them see a better way," she said.
She's also one to try and be a good example in her community. On Thursday, Phillips and her fellow officer Javares Harvey decided to get vaccinated.
"Just because of my coworkers, watching them go through their different symptoms. My personal experience with COVID was a couple of months ago. And seeing a lot of people pass away due to having COVID.
At the Riviera Beach Police Department, it's not mandatory to get vaccinated. But Chief Nathan Osgood said the decision to be vaccinated has its benefits.
"It is another layer of protection. our officers often deal with so many people in the public every day we wear masks as much as possible and sometimes the people we deal with are in close contact," he said.
Statewide, some of the men and women who wear the badge remain reluctant to roll up their sleeves. But Phillips said getting vaccinated means one less worry while on patrol.
"I like being out in the public. I want to make sure people see officers doing a good deed," she said.
Less than 40% of the Riviera Beach Police Department's officers are vaccinated. That's well below the state's overall rate.