St. Paul cop mentors future officer he found working at Arby’s

A chance encounter at a fast-food joint led to a friendship and a career in law enforcement


By Suzie Ziegler 

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brad Chin likely would not have become a cop if not for a chance encounter at an Arby’s, the Star Tribune reported. Chin, then 17, was working at the restaurant when he met his future mentor: St. Paul police officer Lou Ferraro. 

The pair got to talking every time Ferraro stopped in for a meal and eventually developed a friendship. Ferraro was impressed with Chin’s personable demeanor and ability to interact with customers from all walks of life. At one point, Chin mentioned that he’d always wanted to be a St. Paul police officer. 

"I looked directly at him and said, 'Brad, you can become a St. Paul police officer. I guarantee it,'" Ferraro told the Star Tribune. 

From then on, Ferraro became Chin’s mentor, guiding the young man through career decisions that would bring him closer to the St. Paul police academy, the report said. First, Ferraro told Chin to work as a loss prevention officer in retail while studying criminal justice at a community college. Then, Ferraro suggested Chin work as a corrections deputy. Lastly, Ferraro encouraged Chin to work as a parking enforcement officer in St. Paul. 

It all paid off. Less than a year of writing parking tickets, Chin was accepted to the police academy in 2017 – with a recommendation letter from Ferraro. 

Ferraro said the role of mentor was a perfect fit, according to the Star Tribune. His uncle, a 36-year veteran with the St. Paul Police Department, did the same for him. 

"He guided me and mentored me," Ferraro told the Star Tribune. "He always said, 'When you meet someone, shake their hand. Remember their name. And make sure they feel appreciated.'"

Now Chin, too, is paying the mentorship forward by working with recent graduates from the police academy. It makes Ferraro proud. 

NEXT: Putting experience to work: The value of a formal mentoring program

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