It’s not easy being mean for Pasadena police officer

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Read the full feature by Cindy Arora on Behind the Badge here

By all accounts, Pasadena Police Officer Elgin Lee is nice.

Maybe even, super nice.

He’s a former Eagle Scout, a trained medic and he has spent the last 12 years focusing his police work on tackling mental health and homelessness in Pasadena.

But one day a week, Lee, 39, hangs up his Mr. Congeniality merit badge to become a Training, Advising and Counseling (TAC) officer at Rio Hondo Academy. Here cadets learn how to become police officers, but they also learn that in the real world – not everyone is nice.

“No one believes me when I tell them I am also a TAC officer," said Lee. “I’m the nicest guy in the world, but when I’m training it is my job to introduce a level of stress these trainees have never experienced before.”

At the Academy, Officer Lee is consistently rated “the meanest instructor” by students. He’s the guy who gets in cadets faces, yells at them for a wrinkled collar, yells at them for being late, talking, not following directions and is even the guy who slides directly underneath them during push ups to ensure they keep going.

“As a police officer you have to think on your feet, when you are presented with a problem and are in danger, you have to come up with a solution and if you don’t …. I will yell at you for that,” said Lee.

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