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October 30, 2020

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Notre Dame Prep grad says she loves her job as a police officer in St. Louis, shares a Zoom call with NDP students during a daily patrol.

Notre Dame Prep students in Peter Riley's law class spent about an hour on a Zoom call with alum Madeline Riley NDP'13, a patrol officer with the St. Louis Police Department.

On October 20, in Notre Dame Prep social studies teacher Peter Riley's classroom, students got an up-close-and-personal look at a typical day in the life of a police officer. 

This wasn't just any police officer, though. It was Madeline Riley, Peter's daughter and 2013 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, who managed to Zoom with the students while she was on patrol with her partner that day.

It was a fascinating glimpse into the life of a police officer, in this case, one who is a member of the St. Louis (Missouri) Police Department. Madeline says that after a few years on the job, she's getting used to the routine, which, she notes, is never quite so routine.

"Being a police officer has been different than I expected, but it also is exactly what I expected, if that makes any sense," she said. "It's been a shock to me with some of the reasons people will call the police. But we spend our day pretty much in the car unless we need to go back to the station to write a report, or if we arrest someone, which means we have to go downtown."

Policing during a pandemic

Riley, who attended Mercyhurst University, a Catholic liberal arts college in Erie, Penn., where she received a BA degree in intelligence studies (with minors in history and Russian studies), always had a career in law enforcement in her sights, but not necessarily one in Missouri.

"After I graduated from college, I moved back home with my parents while I looked for a job," she said. "One of my friends from college had gotten a position with a company in St. Louis and she recommended me to her employer. They reached out and we set up an interview, I took the position and then moved to St. Louis."

After graduating from the police academy a few years ago, Madeline Riley is with her proud dad, Peter, who teaches social studies at Notre Dame.

Soon thereafter, she enrolled in the St. Louis Police Academy and after eight months of studies and hard work, she graduated and become a police officer.

It's been an interesting few years on duty, she says, and this past year's pandemic has introduced many new wrinkles to her job protecting the city.

"During the beginning of the COVID-19 situation, everyone was riding by themselves and we were making callbacks if possible in order to limit our contact with the public," she said. "Since then, Missouri has opened back up and we're answering most calls in person again. However, we are still cleaning our vehicles before every shift and using the proper PPE when in contact with anyone."

Dad Peter Riley is understandably proud.

"Maddie's mom and I are very proud that she is serving the city of St. Louis and protecting the people there," Peter said. "We know she really enjoys her job as a police officer and she made the right choice. Also, we understand the challenges of being a police officer during these times but know that she is up to the challenge."

Gathering evidence

Maddie notes that her time at Notre Dame was a big step in her post-secondary journey, especially during college at Mercyhurst.

"Going to school at Notre Dame meant taking those extra steps necessary to make sure I was fully prepared for college," she said. "I think the whole NDP experience definitely prepared me way more than how some of my Mercyhurst classmates were ready for their college-level courses."

Now taking a long look at where she'd like to be long term, career-wise, Riley is pretty confident she'll be spending the rest of her working life in law enforcement.

"Eventually, I would like to get into a special unit within SLPD, perhaps something like our evidence-technician unit," she said. "They come and assess a lot of our crime scenes and it looks like a very interesting job. I would also like to become a sergeant some day because I've had the privilege of working for a great sergeant, and I would like to do the same eventually for younger officers."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at

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