From cop car to farm field



“All I do is sleep just to function,” laughed Katie Hansen, about how she spends her day off. Her rotating schedule at the Warwick Police Department sounds like a Common Core math equation. If Katie works from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. for four nights, has two days off, and then clocks back in from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. for three days, when does she have free time? Her days off are always different—beginning sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening, sometimes on a weekday, others a weekend. But in those limited hours between rotations, when she’s not sleeping, she’s making the most of her time volunteering, learning, and helping out around Lowland Farm. By Molly Colgan

CATCHUP I just got off 3-11s [shifts working 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.], so today I got up to do Meals on Wheels—I woke up at about 9:30, read news, got caught up on world events.

WHEELIN’ & DEALIN’ I do Meals on Wheels with my friend Bill. We go to St. Anthony’s Community Hospital, pick up the meals and then usually take the Pine Island route. There’s a vet who has dementia out in Pine Island that I met while on-duty as part of a call, so I like to check up on him and make sure he’s okay. He’s doin’ well.

MORE WHEELIN’ I’m training for the Police Unity Tour in May. It’s a 230-mile bike ride over the course of three days, in memory of those who died on the job. I’m participating with Chapter 4 in Virginia, so we’re gonna ride from Richmond to DC during police week. Most of my training has been cardio-based spin classes. I have a bike, but I haven’t been able to get on the road with the snow and everything… so I’m getting a little nervous. I really need to step up my game.

EMPOWER-LIFTING After that, I’ll probably go back to strength training to some degree—like powerlifting, just because I find that when I’m stronger, I’m better at everything else; even mentally, it’s so empowering. It helps on the farm too, because there are so many functional movements on the farm that you don’t even know you’re doing. There was this long move two springs ago. It was across a road, and there was one calf that had just been born and I had to carry it—they look tiny in comparison to the mom—but they’re 90, 95 pounds. I had to put it down once.

FARM FAM I forced myself on the farm [laughs]. Like you’re not getting rid of me, I don’t care what I do. I try to be here as much as I can. I’ve known the owners, Will and Barbara, since 2010. I worked here full-time while I was part-time at the P.D., helping out with rotational grazing. We’ve got close to 250 cows, and we raise them throughout about 1,000 acres. So it takes some preparation and planning to move them, and with fencing and stuff, something’s always breaking, so ya have to fix it.

MOOVING There are a lot of older ladies here who kind of know the drill, so they’ll lead the herd. We’ll set up the fencing in a way that we can take them to their next spot. They’re pretty used to following the ATV, and if you call to them—it’s like this HOOO!—they’ll start going, and the rest will follow. Best part of my day: lunch break. Just eating and sitting with the cows. That’s more meditative than anything I could try to force myself to do otherwise. Just being quiet, and still, and just being. They are just the best version of themselves all the time—and I feel like that’s what I’m working towards, so it’s just a hopeful reminder. Finish up around 5, depending on how the day goes. I’m usually pooped. Farm work is the hardest work ever. I just eat and read and sleep.

MEALPREP I like to get stuff from the farm. The bacon is incredible. It’s so hard with my schedule to not make poor decisions if I’m just really tired. If I wanna be successful, I’ve gotta plan ahead.

#GOALS I’m into real estate books—real estate investing. I think with investing in real estate, you can’t go wrong: passive income, instead of trading time for money. There’s only a finite amount of time, you know. That’s it. It’s so valuable. I don’t think I’ll ever not work, but to have the option of doing whatever it is I want is the long-term goal. Ultimately, I would love to have an animal sanctuary. I’m the person that always stops for injured birds. I’m the cop that will throw on my lights because there’s a turtle crossing the road.

SELF-EVOLUTION And there’s another book I’m reading on stoicism. It’s an ancient philosophy, the gist that I’m taking from it is that the only thing we can control is our response to everything. So you can’t help if something breaks on the farm, or whatever call I go to at work. These things are already happening and the only thing I can do is just respond the best way I know how.

HIT THE HAY Maybe 10? Depends on the actual day. There’s really no rhyme or reason. There is no normal.