Ephrata Police Officer Robert Wolpert
Ephrata Police Officer Robert Wolpert grew up in Lancaster city and his first impression of law enforcement occurred when police officers volunteered to be his youth sports coaches.
“I didn't really have many positive role models growing up,” Wolpert said. “But the few positive role models that I did have were actually police officers. They were my sports coaches, in middle school and in high school, and they really made an impact on my life.”
The coaches taught Wolpert and his teammates how to respect themselves and others while also having fun playing the sport. Wolpert cherished the lessons in discipline and was grateful for the impact the coaches had on him; he felt it molded him into becoming a better individual.
“Seeing that the time and dedication that they took outside of their work to coach us to be young men it sparked something in me,” Wolpert said. “That’s really what I want to do. That's how I feel I best can give back to my community.”
Wolpert now tries to live by that mindset every day and wants to give positive guidance to juveniles just like his coaches did for him.
“That's ultimately what led to me wanting to be a police officer, just the difference that police officers made in my life at a young age,” he said. “Now that's just something that I want to do and be a part of.”
Wolpert has now been a police officer for a little over two years, but he didn’t immediately join law enforcement.
He spent time in the culinary industry after graduating McCaskey and obtaining a degree in culinary arts and restaurant management from YTI. He worked at Lancaster city restaurants such as the Belvedere Inn, Flora’s, and the Community Action Partnership’s Reunion food truck.
“The restaurant experience helped me to be where I am today with my work ethic,” he said. “Just being able to kind of think on my feet and just make it happen.”
The experience working on CAP’s Reunion food truck, which offers soul food with proceeds going to the Crispus Attucks Community Center’s meal program, further sparked his interest in giving back to the community. Wolpert felt the best way to do this was to become a police officer, even if he risked exposing himself to traumatic events and an irregular schedule.
Police work can take its toll on officers’ mental health; Wolpert spends time with his family and continues baking and cooking in the kitchen as ways to decompress. He acknowledged some of the common myths and misconceptions of law enforcement but feels that can’t be applied to the entire field.
“I think that the really big misconception is that police officers don't care,” he said. “Our main job is for the public. Every decision I make is in the best interest of the community. There’s a job that we have to do and that involves us arresting people and enforcing laws, but those laws are in place for the best interest of the community. I don’t think we would do the job if we didn’t care.”
Wolpert has taken an interest in DUI work and feels this is a great way for him to do his part in keeping the community safe. He has taken extra trainings regarding DUI enforcement and hopes to continue gaining expertise in the area.
“I think it's important to get drunk drivers off the street,” he said. “Most importantly, it's making sure the community is safe. I feel that through DUI enforcement I'm able to do that.”
Wolpert made the career switch from the culinary industry and doesn’t regret it; the fast-paced nature of the job and every day being different appeals to him. The opportunity to assist and keep the public safe leaves him fulfilled after each workday.
“I probably would have been a little bummed if I decided not to pursue this career,” he said. “Every day I leave here I feel fulfilled. Every day I wake up I don’t feel like I’m going to work. I feel like I’m fulfilling something I’ve always wanted to do.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Sean McBryan, email@example.com; Twitter: @SeanMcBryanLanc.