Burbank Police Department Police Administrator Courtney Padgett joined the department following 20 years of working in public service out of Orlando, Fla. She now handles numerous administrative and project management functions for the BPD, in addition to overseeing the department’s fiscal operation.
Courtney states her love for serving Burbank community members and explains how her strong work ethic has helped her career flourish for our Women’s History Month Q&A.
What drew you to work in public service?
My path to public service happened somewhat organically. When I was in college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career and tried several pretty different majors: accounting, speech pathology, and ultimately, … criminal justice.
I have always had an interest in the justice system, a desire to work with people, and wanted a career that would be rewarding on both a personal and professional level. Working in public service is really a privilege, and I have been very fortunate to work my entire career in various aspects of public service and at different types of government organizations at state, county, and local levels.
Having the opportunity to serve the public and contribute to the betterment of the community and the citizens is such an enjoyable obligation and responsibility to be given – I can’t imagine doing anything else. It has been especially meaningful for me over the past few years working in and getting to know a community as tight knit and unique as Burbank; we get the opportunity to engage regularly and on a personal level with so many members of the community – it is an honor to work here and to serve the city in my role.
What have your experiences been like as a woman who is a key contributor in a male-dominated industry?
Obviously, I have always been aware that I am a woman working in a male-dominated industry, but I’ve tried to never let that be a factor in how I approach the performance of my duties. I consider myself an equal part of the work environment and try to conduct myself accordingly. I focus on demonstrating a strong work ethic, finding ways to contribute however I can, and treating people in a respectful manner – attributes that I believe are important regardless of gender. I can honestly say this philosophy has served me well in regards to my experiences working with my male counterparts. I have found that once people see that you have good intentions and that you are ultimately working to better the organization and help others, you gain their respect and everything falls into place. Also, having a good sense of humor helps!
What aspects of your job with the Burbank Police Department do you enjoy the most?
There are so many aspects of my job that I enjoy. I am very lucky. The most satisfying aspect is the personal satisfaction I receive through knowing that I am contributing daily to the safety of the community and of our police officers. A lot of the work that [my team and I] do takes place behind the scenes. No one really sees the work that goes into managing finances or contracts or other administrative tasks. I find it extremely rewarding to know that I play a role in ensuring that our officers and other employees within the department have the tools and means to perform their jobs effectively. The police department’s operations move at a rapid pace with constantly changing priorities; being a part of managing these shifts while continually maintaining the effective provision of public safety services is a very enjoyable aspect of my job.
Which women in your life have inspired you to go after your goals?
I have been very privileged throughout my career to work with many women who have served as mentors and role models for me. At my former place of employment, I worked for several women who had progressed through the ranks and achieved positions as captain, deputy chief, and chief.
Most recently, I have been exceptionally fortunate to know and be inspired by my predecessor as the police administrator, Josephine Wilson. Our transition of this role occurred somewhat unexpectedly, and I will never be able to thank her enough for the professional and personal guidance, support, and knowledge she has provided to me.
All of these women inspired me in so many different ways to work hard, to have confidence in myself and my abilities, and to manage the constantly evolving challenges one faces during a career. I could compile a mile-long list of the life lessons I learned from each of them. I have the highest level of respect for their accomplishments and their willingness to contribute to my development. It is so important to have strong female role models in the workplace and to have women who are willing to take the time to support, teach, and inspire others; I can only hope to emulate my mentors by paying that forward for others.
What advice would you impart to young girls pursuing their dreams?
A few things; one: be true to yourself. When you remain true to yourself, your authenticity will come through and you will be successful at whatever you do. Two: control the things you can control – let the rest of it go. Life is much too short to worry about things that you can’t do anything about. Three: have fun – even in stressful environments and situations, there are always ways to find the fun. Keep smiling and keep laughing!