BEHIND THE BADGE: Schoelwer sings a new song as she embraces community policing

She’s a classically trained opera singer who travelled the world as a youngster.  She sang in the Kennedy Center as a high school student and marched in the Macy Day Parade in New York while in the JMU band. Oh, and, don’t forget to add she marched in Ireland as well.  

But before all that Town Police Officer Schoelwer was an adventurous youngster.  When she was five her recently divorced mother moved to Arlington.  They didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood so “I walked next door and said, ‘hello friend’ to our neighbor,” she explained.  “He calls up my mom and says, ‘your kid is in my house.”  And that is how Julia introduced her mother to her mother’s future husband.

There is a kinetic energy that Schoelwer exudes as she talks and moves– interacting with people, manipulating the controls of her cruiser, recalling past adventures.  It informs her every move.

She likes to read and that guided her college studies– at first.  She took a part time job with campus security and by the time her sophomore year rolled along Schoelwer decided criminal justice studies suited her interests better.  She still reads, “Little Paris Book Shop” being her last book, but the action of police work fulfills the other part of Schoelwer’s inner psyche–the part that drives her to a black belt in Tai Kyon Do and training in Judo.  

In 2013 she joined the Culpeper Town Police.  Schoelwer went to the police academy, underwent field training and came out of the process a patrol officer.  Not one to let things be — she studied to become certified in accident reconstruction.  

In April, Town Police Chief Chris Jenkins saw her ability to work with people of all stripes and moved her to Community Policing.  It’s not something that Schoelwer would have picked for herself but she finds she likes the assignment.  She works with the community on events — getting to know the community — letting Culpeper citizens get to know her.  Neighborhood Watches are another venue for her to explore relationship building.

“I’ve been around all cultures,” she said, pointing to her high school years in Arlington and her travels abroad.  That helps her to understand others in the environment that they live in as opposed to her usual way of living.

“People need to understand each other especially in law enforcement,” she said.  Creating “relationships” with citizens helps to make for better police work, she said.  And that, apparently, is a skill Schoelwer began honing years ago when she walked into her neighbor’s house.

“Law enforcement is usually reactive not proactive,” she said.  “Community outreach is proactive.  If we can prevent one incident through getting to know each other–that is a good thing.”

Chief Chris Jenkins said he picked Julia for the community relations job for many reasons but “the main reason is the energy she brings to community policing.”  

“She is always willing to work with members of our community,” he said. “She exemplifies community policing at its best.”


Julia Schoelwer

Age: 28

Marital Status:  Engaged

Education: James Madison University, BA, Criminal Justice Studies, 2010

Hobbies: Reading, Martial Arts, Music

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for a delightful profile of a wonderful police officer. But just to clarify, we lived in South Arlington when she was born. Julia did not walk into a stranger’s house at the age of five. She was about 2 and a half and she joined her future step-dad on his porch (next door to us in a town house community). Even then, she was fearless and loved to meet people. And she did meet him before her mother did. I know; I’m her Mom. :-)

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