Sam Bonilla: 24 Year Police Veteran, US Marine, Attorney, and Program Director for the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy


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If ever there was a man who exemplified what a first-class police officer is, it’s this week’s guest, Sam Bonilla. It’s refreshing to hear Sam’s view of police work, and the measures he takes to teach new recruits the discipline and self-sacrifice it takes to be such an officer. In his 34 years’ experience as a police officer in the Chicago area, Sam has become the Program Director for the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, a Master Firearms Instructor, and uses his extensive experience to benefit the relationship between civilians and police officers in his area of influence. Sam Bonilla also served as a U.S. Marine during the Gulf War and has been an attorney for over 16 years. It’s people like Sam that raise the bar in police work, community relations and raising the standard for new officers.
In this episode you will hear:
  • In our police department, we invite the community in our “home” to see exactly what we do, so it’s not a mystery.
  • We introduce our police officers and the citizens learn we’re pretty normal.
  • Our mission is to help.
  • You don’t realize how bad an environment is when you grow up in that environment.
  • Where you land is not necessarily where you’re going to end up.
  • The Marine Corps is the first thing in my life I ever succeeded at.
  • Never stop pushing for what you want, even if it sucks at the time.
  • There are things you have to do to get to where you want to be.
  • Your mission’s not over yet. You have to keep moving forward in your journey.
  • Your experiences will eventually help you gravitate to the top.
  • The only regret I have is not spending time with the family.
  • Police officers are second-guessing themselves these days because of the way things are.
  • If we, as a profession, don’t adapt to society, we will never advance as a profession, and things will not get better.
  • Police work is a profession that is self-sacrificing. You have to be willing to accept that.
  • You can’t forget why you got into this profession.
  • You don’t know how you’re changing someone’s life with just a smile.
  • My calling is to focus on our civilians that are trying to learn more about the police and the recruits that are trying to be the police.
  • Never stop serving. It’s your mission in life to keep going.

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