Charles J. Wolff

Patrolman, Plattsburgh Police Department

Hometown: Ellenburg, NY
Age: 34
Education: Some college
Community Involvement: While I don’t have as much free time to interact with the community off duty, I always make time for kids at the parks while I’m on duty. If I’m not tied up, I always try to stop by the parks and let the kids and their parents take pictures of them with the police car, and I’ll even let them work the lights and sirens. I know that it’s not much, but hopefully they’ll remember the “cool” cop who let them play with the car!

What’s your biggest professional success?

I was very proud of the fact that I completed Instructor Development School, which allows me to teach in the academy. I then continued this by becoming a Physical Fitness Instructor for our academy.

What’s your dream job?

I hope to continue to rise through the ranks of the Police Department, helping me to serve the community in different ways. 

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

It can be a challenge, especially when working night shift. While my job is very important to me, spending time with my family is equally important. Thankfully my wife has always been my biggest supporter, which makes it much less stressful. Working a 12-hour shift often leaves me tired at the end of the day, and I don’t always have the energy to do the things I’d like to do after work. I always try to plan something with my family on my weekends off to catch up. It can be a challenge with a 15-year-old and a 3-year-old, but I always do something that makes them both happy. 

What important lessons have you learned in your career?

Nothing happens overnight. It takes hard work and dedication to be respected in this profession, both by the community and your peers.

What’s the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?

I’m excited to see some of the changes that Plattsburgh is trying to bring to the area, especially when it comes to the small businesses coming here.

What would make the North Country a more enjoyable place to live and work?

I’d like to see a more family friendly atmosphere in the downtown area. Unfortunately, there aren’t many things for families to do downtown. I think this would be a prime location, located in the center of the city and being accessible to walk from one end to the other with few traffic crossings. 

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from him/her?

While I’ve had many in my professional career, I’m going to have to say my father. He always showed me that through hard work, anything is possible. Nothing is ever going to get handed to you; you have to work for everything you have. He grew up in a time when it was a privilege to have a job, not a right or guarantee. He is one of the main reasons I am where I am in my life today.

How do you contribute to the culture of your company?

I’m currently a Field Training Officer and an instructor for our academy. I feel that it’s very important to teach new recruits the proper way to do the job from the beginning. I enjoy answering their questions and watching them go from recruits to full members of the department. 

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

It was a little scary when I transferred from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department to the Plattsburgh Police Department. I hadn’t yet met any of the members, and that first night I sat in briefing, it was a little intimidating, as my shift was comprised of very senior officers. 

What is something that no one would guess about you?

I grew up a simple farm boy in Ellenburg. Some of my best memories were helping my father on the farm. 

Write a brief note to your younger self…

Times may seem tough right now, but keep on plugging. Keep your head and your chin up. Struggling now will help you become a better person and father later. The best is yet to come…