He sings, models and upholds the law: Why a Boston-area musician chose to become a cop
“I love doing all three,” Cambridge Officer Michael Wyche, who’s approaching his one-year anniversary as a police officer, told Yahoo News.
Cambridge police Officer Michael Wyche recalls a time he had to kick somebody out of a store because she was causing a disturbance. As he escorted her outside, she started to share her side of the story. Then, suddenly, Wyche said, the woman asked to see his hands.
“And I [said], ‘Let me see your hands,’” Wyche said. “So she’s like, ‘No, seriously.’”
Wyche obliged and showed her one of his hands. He soon realized she was hitting on him. “She's like, ‘Oh, my God, you don't have a ring on your finger.’ I was like, ‘Lady, please don't do this. Don't do this.’”
Wyche is approaching his one-year anniversary as a police officer — on July 4 — and loves the job. But what distinguishes Wyche from a typical officer are his pursuits outside of law enforcement: producing music and modeling.
The 34-year-old has loved music since he was an infant, when his father would play vinyls and eight-track tapes. “My main genres are definitely R&B. I definitely like to dip into some House and some Trap music sometimes, but for the most part, I live in R&B,” Wyche told Yahoo News.
He adds that his style has been influenced by the oldies: classic rock, 1980s metal, 1970s, '80s and '90s R&B, artists like the Isley Brothers and his all-time favorite, Prince. His more current influences are Future, Drake and Miguel.
Wyche says he has performed in Colombia, New York and Miami, but his biggest success has come from his pen, co-writing an album, "137," for the artist David Correy, who has hit a million streams on Spotify.
“I think music for me is just my outlet for a lot of things … and then modeling is cool, too because I get to meet different people, I get to talk to different people in different avenues.”
Why Wyche chose law enforcement
With the possibility of pursuing a glamorous career as a musician and model, why would Wyche become an officer? His interest in public service began with a stint at the Boys & Girls Club, where he taught music to kids. Then he worked maintenance for the Cambridge Public School Department before going to the police academy.
“I love helping people,” he said. “That's pretty much why I decided to join and to take this job and take this career on.”
Sgt. Beth Halloran, academy director for the Cambridge-Northeastern Police Academy, said Wyche “was always willing to do whatever was asked of him” and excelled during his time there.
“Our PT is pretty rigorous, and he was always front and center helping others out and kind of lending a hand,” she told Yahoo News.
One day, Wyche decided to surprise the class.
“What I find interesting is at the very end, our last week of the academy, he came to us and asked if he could present something to the class,” Halloran said. “He actually brought in a guitar and sang a song to the class, that was probably our second-to-last day before graduation. Until then, we didn't know that he had any musical talent whatsoever. So it was pretty cool for his classmates, it was cool for us.”
As he nears his work anniversary, Wyche said he's aware of the criticism that U.S. law enforcement officers face and acknowledges that even he and his fellow officers are affected by the things they see. He said he was horrified by the video of Tyre Nichols, who was caught on tape being fatally beaten by five Memphis police officers during a traffic stop in January. All five officers were charged with murder, and two others were relieved of duty.
“We're supposed to be taking care of each other,” Wyche said. “With so much against us, the last people we need against us, is us. So that definitely hit me in my heart. We can't keep doing things like this, something needs to change. The training that we get here in Massachusetts, my training in my academy, was excellent. I can speak for myself, and from my department, I've never seen anything like that with us.”
Hollaran said that the academy addresses the tensions between communities and police departments, and potential dangers. “We talk about what's really happening out there. The last thing we want is for someone to go unprepared, to think it's all like butterflies and roses,” she said.
“So we talk about how the public views police officers. We want them to be prepared for what it might be: some people hate us, some people love us, some people want to talk to us, others want to throw things at us. So you need to be prepared for that," she said. "But [on] that same note, our big thing is kind of understanding and being empathetic to why people may feel that way, and what can we do as police officers to kind of change that mentality?”
'Policing needs a lot of change'
On top of being an officer, musician and model, Wyche holds another major title: father. He has a young daughter who is his “heart in human form” and hopes he can be a role model for her in his job in law enforcement.
“I also want to do something that my daughter could be proud of, and I think that policing needs a lot of change," he said. "I think my generation can be a part of that change. I'll be honest with you, about two, three years ago, I didn't want to be a cop, I would have never wanted to do this job ever. But I think that I've seen too many bad situations that could have been handled differently if the right people were there — if the right training was implemented.”
As for the flirtatious comments he gets from women on the job, he said such instances have gone up as of late.
“I've had to break up certain parties, and when I'm walking through the party, a girl will say like, ‘Oh, arrest me,’ and you know what I mean?" he said. "I appreciate the compliments. Yeah, it's funny,” he said.
But when it comes to dating, his livelihood is a “double-edged sword."
“I've been on dating apps before and I've talked to certain women at lounges and stuff when I go out," he said. "Sometimes you tell them you're a cop, and they don't want anything to do with you. I think that's a sad part about where the career has gone and what it is now. It's definitely changed. But I can understand that.”
He does hope to get married one day and have more children. That would be more fulfilling for him than making it big as a model or musician.
“I think every single thing that I do with music, modeling and police plays a big, important role in my life and serves an important purpose,” he said.