CTK Alum Becomes One of Chicago Police Department's Newest Officers

The Star Ceremony is the culmination of an over six-month process of psychological, mental, and physical training and testing required of the Chicago Police Department’s newest recruits. The time spent at the academy is set up to make sure that all candidates are committed and prepared to take on this demanding job. The graduates of the police academy are recognized for successfully completing all training phases with the awarding of their star badges.  In August, Chris (C.J.) Dixon, CTK ‘12 officially became one of the Chicago Police Department’s newest officers.  Although COVID restrictions prevented family and friends from filling the bleachers at the police headquarters, the person he considers his main supporter, his mother, was there virtually to cheer on her son, as she has for every step of his journey in achieving this goal.

C.J. Dixon took a chance in attending CTK as part of the first class to enroll at the then-new high school on the West Side.  He grew during his time at CTK through the classroom challenges and unique opportunities associated with his Corporate Work Study job. “My teachers at CTK were incredibly supportive, and always challenged me to give my best.” He acknowledged several teachers for helping him while at CTK, including a few like Mr. Jimmy Bajner, Mrs. Cheryl Cattledge, and Mrs. Rebecca Strugula, who are still part of the CTK faculty. He also recognized the value of his CWSP experience.  “Being able to work at ABC Bank for four years including summers, was an experience not many teenagers get.”

After CTK, C.J. attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale, graduating in 2017 with a BA in Criminology & Criminal Justice, and a minor in Forensic Science. While there, he joined a fraternity, which fundraised for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and made some lifelong friends. Through his SIU experience, he became more independent and committed to pursuing a career in law enforcement, starting as a Chicago police officer and potentially an FBI agent, down the road. He also developed an interest in entrepreneurship and real estate, that he continues to delve into during his free time.

Officer Dixon is now in the 3rd cycle of his field training in the Jefferson Park police district. He is transitioning from working with field trainers to patrolling with an assigned regular police officer.   It is a tough job, made even more difficult due to COVID, but he enjoys the work and is doing what he aspired to do. “I feel I can have a positive impact on the community, by being positive and upbeat, and providing assistance. That’s why I came into this. I try to get to know people to help change their perceptions about the police.” He cited a recent interaction with a young boy who hadn’t met a police officer before, who he hoped to have left with a good first impression.

He was surprised to learn that one of his closest friends at CTK, Andrew Almaraz ’12, also aspired to be a police officer. They ended up at the police academy together. He said, “It helped to have someone you know going through the training with you. Who would have thought the two of us would both become Chicago cops?”  Both CTK grads had dreams that they pursued, and through hard work and perseverance, are now on the path to achieving.

C.J. feels lucky to have the support of friends and family.  He continues to get the most encouragement from his mom, Ms. Williett Hewlett, who serves an important role in the CTK community as Business Office Director. “My mom has always been there for me, and I’d do anything for her. I remember her telling me at CTK when I was frustrated with schoolwork to never give up. If I did, how could I expect to get to where I want to go? If I kept trying, she assured me that I would see good results in the future.”

He is able to draw on his experiences at CTK, in college, and the police academy to share his own advice with current CTK students: “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You have the potential to be great. All it takes is hard work and dedication.” He has become a great example of that.