By Jann Wiswall
Title: Police Officer, Town of Ellicottville
A Few Facts: Amber Justice is the newest addition to the Town of Ellicottville’s police force. She started the job in February after five years as an officer with the Arcade, N.Y., police department.
Justice (and yes, that’s her real name) has always been interested in law enforcement. Before graduating from high school, she enlisted in the Air National Guard (ANG) in 2002, and the day after graduation, she headed off to basic training.
She has since graduated from Hilbert College with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then completed a year at the Rural Police Training Institute, all while continuing her work with the ANG. She is now working on her master’s degree in criminal justice administration and hopes to teach part-time on the side.
Q: What attracted you to law enforcement?
A: My parents will tell you that I’ve wanted to be a police officer ever since I was a little girl. They both served in the Army, so that probably had something to do with it. When I was in high school, they pretty much told me that if I wanted to go to college, I would either have to pay for it myself or enlist. It was an easy decision to enlist, because I wanted the training as well as the education.
I also always knew I wanted to work with people. Law enforcement offers such a variety of cases to get involved in. It’s also a career where you can be sure you won’t be doing the same thing all day every day. There’s always something new in our work to protect and serve the public. We’re the first people you call when there’s a problem, so it’s very rewarding.
Q: How do you like working in Ellicottville?
A: I’m enjoying it very much. I’ve been coming to Holiday Valley since I was on my middle and high school snowboard teams, so I knew the area and already loved the feel of the community. I also worked several times as a special police officer at Fall Fest and other events in Ellicottville. When I heard there was an opening, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s a nice fit.
One thing I’d like to do for the Ellicottville and surrounding community is start a car seat check program. I’m a certified car seat technician – I make sure they’re properly installed and safe for the child. A lot of people don’t know that car seats expire, so hand-me-down, used or old car seats might not be providing the best protection. I was involved in a program in Arcade where we got grants to provide free car seats to eligible parents who needed them. I’d like to get something like that going here, too. For now, though, people can call the Town Police Department (716-699-2120) to make an appointment with me to check them out.
Q: Your name has got to be a topic of conversation. What kinds of reactions do you get?
A: Oh, I’ve gotten it all. Some people think I’m joking or pulling their legs when I identify myself as Officer Justice. Or they want to know if I’m related to Dave Justice, the baseball player. Some ask if I’m going to be Chief Justice some day.
I say I certainly hope so!