Saluting Local Mom and Officer Kristen McKee During Mother’s Day and National Police Week
A Mahopac mom juggles the ups and downs of parenting while serving as an NYPD cop
Dodging bullets is tricky. Cuffing a 250-pound man and stuffing him into a police cruiser is no walk in the park. But trying to get two kids up for school, organize car pools, and have a hot meal on the table before bedtime? That’s next to impossible.
In honor of both Mother’s Day (May 8) and National Police Week (May 11-16), we salute New York City Police Officer Kristen McKee, a 19-year veteran of the force. In her South Bronx precinct she is called Lieut. McKee, but at home she is simply Mom. For the last 11 years, she has lived in Mahopac with her husband Terry, a Port Authority sergeant, and their daughter Lylla, 8, and son Dylan, 7.
“We love Mahopac,” McKee says. “It’s the perfect little town for us.” Her neighbors have even dubbed her the notorious strict mom. Children beware: McKee jokes that parents will scare their kids into staying in line before a play date at the McKee house, telling them, “you better behave yourself — they’re cops!”
“I am the paranoid mom,” she laughs. “My kids don’t have as much freedom as a lot of their friends do.”
But her children understand why mom puts the kibosh on some sleepovers and play dates. “The kids understand my job and are proud of what I do. Hopefully when they get older I will loosen up the reins a bit,” she jokes.
And although the handcuffs and patrol car don’t carry over to her second job as a mother, McKee says it’s the values that go along with being a police officer that she utilizes at home. “As New York City police officers, we set a positive example in the community; people look up to us. We wear the uniform with pride, all while treating people with respect. Those are the values that I teach my kids and hope they pick up on.”
But then there are the negatives aspects of being a mom in blue. “My husband and I have missed a lot of things — school events, practices, games. We are not guaranteed holidays off, and when one of us is home with the kids the other has to rush off to work,” she explains. “It’s tough.”
McKee looks to a strong support system of family and friends to help with her hectic schedule. “There are times when I’m at a scene and I just can’t leave. Thankfully I have great backup at home, a team of people who understand that at any moment something could come up and I’ll need to lean on them. I’ve been so fortunate.”
In fact, her fellow officers not only back her up on the streets but on the parenting front as well. With more than 4,000 females serving as NYPD officers, and a whopping 19,000-plus males making up the bulk of department, the women on the force make a point to help each other. “There are so many women on the job right now, and a lot of them are moms. It’s great because we all understand and look out for one another.”
One of the common things these police moms have to deal with is the added danger factor. “It’s always in the back of my head whenever I go out on patrol,” she says. “I just think to myself ‘I have to get back safely at the end of my shift, I absolutely have to. My kids need their mom.’ ”
Even after seeing the very worst that police work has to offer, McKee says that life is just too good to dwell on the negatives. “Of course there are things that occasionally pop up that haunt me, but my home life is so rewarding and positive,” she says. “My kids keep me so busy that there isn’t time to dwell.”
So what’s harder, being a mom or being a cop? “Being a mom is certainly harder,” she laughs. “My kids are always on my mind, and no matter how old they get that will never go away. Motherhood is 24/7, it never ends.”