MCC alumna finds her passion in law enforcement
Kendra Backing has been intrigued by whodunit mysteries since she was a girl.
While attending Belding High School, Backing dual enrolled in a criminal justice class, and that experience combined with her love of solving mysteries fueled her interest to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I was always a problem solver,” Backing says. “I wanted to understand why people did the things they did.
“Through the classes I took as a high school student, I found my passion,” she says, and she soon enrolled in classes at Montcalm Community College.
Backing earned an associate degree in criminal justice from MCC in 2002 and transferred to Ferris State University where she completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration.
Today, the 35-year-old is the chief of police with the Evart Police Department. She is the first woman ever to hold this position. She also was the first full-time female officer and the first female sergeant to serve the department, where she has been employed for 10 years.
She says while the job “is sometimes very absorbing, I have moments that remind me why I do this. I want to help people. I feel like I’ve always had some sort of calling in a service field.”
While attending MCC, Backing says, “I had a great experience. Looking back, I wonder how I got through it. I had a young son, worked during the day and attended night classes.
“The class schedule was very convenient. I found relationships in other students who were doing the very same thing,” she adds.
Jim Peacock, a now-retired criminal justice instructor, made a lasting impression on her.
“He challenged me. When I needed help, he helped me,” Backing says. “All of my instructors were approachable and available. They wanted to see me and everybody else succeed. You never forget about the people who help you along the way.”
- Shelly Strautz-Springborn