Rock Hill officer inspires student to join law enforcement

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Marie Burkhart is a graduating senior at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill.

The 17-year-old plans to attend York Technical College in the fall to get an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, transfer to Winthrop University to get a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, then complete the Police Academy and join a South Carolina Police Department.  

Burkhart said the bond she's made with Rock Hill Police Officer Kerri Altizer is what tipped the scales on her life plans, after high school.

“She’s really actually just helped me through a lot this school year,” Burkhart said. “She’s got a really big heart, there’s never been a time when she hasn’t made 30 seconds to talk to me. I cannot wait when hopefully one day I can be her coworker.”

Altizer has been with the Rock Hill Police Department for three years. She spent her first two years as a patrol officer, and this last one as a school resource officer.

“I really enjoy it. I love working with the kids,” Altizer said. “It feels good to know that when I’m here at school, there are students, like Marie, who look forward to seeing me.”

Burkhart and Altizer met this school year.

In a post on twitter, the teenager wrote, “You have been my mentor and role model throughout the senior year. Thanks for everything. I can’t wait to be just like you one day.”

Burkhart graduates on Saturday. Altizer looks forward to watching the senior walk the stage.

“I hope she does what she wants to do. I hope she goes into law enforcement because we need more females,” Altizer said.