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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Twin cops say ‘our parents opposed it, but this is the most rewarding thing’

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“It’s hard, it’s dangerous, but it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do.”

Twenty-six-year-old twin brothers, William and Richard Park, explained why they wear their badges as police officers. The Park brothers were born a minute apart in 1997 in Los Angeles Koreatown, and they both currently serve on the Monrovia Police Department.

The twin officers started in Monrovia’s cadet program in 2016, and older brother William became an officer there in 2021. His brother, Richard, went through the same cadet program and worked as a sheriff for three years at the San Bernardino County jail before returning to Monrovia earlier this year.

Their resemblance in physiques and short hairstyles often prompt funny happenings, they said. “One time, my office door was locked because someone saw my younger brother leave and thought I had left work, and another time I went to pick up my gun and was asked, ‘Why did you come back again when you just picked it up a while ago?'” said Park.

William Park (right) and Richard Park of Monrovia Police Department [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]
A small city with about 40,000 residents, Monrovia is a clean and friendly neighborhood with a long history. It is a peaceful place where there hasn’t been a single police-involved shooting in the last 15 years.

“Unlike neighboring cities where the police can’t respond because there aren’t enough officers, we even go out when we get a report saying that a neighbor’s dog is too loud at 3 a.m. But it’s a tough job that requires you to sacrifice time with your family and deal with difficult situations.”

Still, the city’s police department has a staffing capacity of 52 officers but is 10 officers short. Monrovia currently pays entry-level officers between $7,200 and $9,600 per month. But paying more doesn’t solve the problem, they said.

“No police organization is 100% full. Sometimes, we have 200 people apply for one officer position but end up not hiring. If something goes wrong after they’re hired, it’s the city’s responsibility, so they have to be very selective and careful.”

When the twins said they wanted to be police officers, their parents opposed it. “At first my parents were surprised, but then they relented when they saw us both so excited to work, so now they cheer us on every day.”

When asked if other police officers have privileges because they are police officers, Richard Park said, “I got a parking ticket last week. It’s a shame for the residents if officers break the rules and promises made to the residents.”

The twins currently focus on patrolling the district as their primary task and said they hope to become training officers and later become detectives.

BY BRIAN CHOI, HOONSIK WOO [ichoi@koreadaily.com]