Carlton officers on the road
Studies at Police Academy lead to stronger local force
CARLTON — Officers Jacob Herr and Chad Jones have completed their training, freeing them to assume patrol duties with the Carlton Police Department. That puts the department at full force for the first time since 2011.
“It’s nice to have them on the street, giving us more coverage over the 24 hours,” said Chief Kevin Martinez, who just joined the force himself in March 2012. In the interim, the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office and Yamhill Police Deparmtent helped take up the slack.
After being hired last July, Jones and Herr spent four months at the Oregon police academy. They spent much of the winter training in the field, not only with Martinez, but also with officers from the sheriff’s office and McMinnville, Newberg and Yamhill police departments.
The unique, multi-agency field training exposed the new officers to a much wider variety of experiences in a shorter time than training limited to Carlton every could, Martinez said. He said it also helped them build relationships with the other agencies.
“All of us in law enforcement are working toward the same goals, so it makes sense for us to work together,” Martinez said. He said he’s heard nothing but positive comments from his officers about the training and from the training officers about them.
For Herr and Jones, the experience was invaluable. They joined in responding to calls ranging from thefts and traffic stops to bar fights, and to assisting detectives with long-term investigations.
Both officers studied illegal drugs while at the academy, but said they learned far more in the field. Working traffic stops and other types of calls reinforced what they knew about spotting and searching for cocaine, heroin and other substances, they said.
“In the field training, you’re dealing with a real person with real rights, not just a mock situation,” Herr noted.
It also gave them an appreciation for what the different agencies do and see. County deputies, for instance, must cover a huge geographic area, and McMinnville and Newberg officers have to handle a heavy volume of calls.
“The training helped us build resources with other agencies, get to know them, know when they need cover and know they’ll be there to cover us,” Jones said.
Jones grew up in Salem, Herr in Silverton. Both became interested in law enforcement as teens and studied criminal justice.
“I knew as a police officer, I’d get to work with so many people and help them on a daily basis,” Jones said.
Herr agreed. “I enjoy going to work, because I have a sense I’m doing something to help people,” he said.
Martinez is pleased with the job Herr and Jones are doing. Not only are they well-trained officers, they’re also a good fit for Carlton, he said.
“They really understand the philosophy here ... being community-oriented and interactive,” the chief said. “We want to get to know citizens and be proactive.”
The new officers feel they have been well-received by the community.
“A lot of people are very welcoming,” Jones said. “They say it’s great to see us out and about.”
Herr said getting to know people now will only help in the future. Citizens will be feel more comfortable reporting crimes and calling on them for assistance.
“We’re there to help,” he said.
Herr and Jones, like the chief, spend time both patrolling in their cars and on foot. They often stop to speak with business people and citizens, and it’s not uncommon to see them pause to play a quick three-point hoop shooting contest with kids.
The department also sponsors “Night Court” pickup basketball at Yamhill-Carlton Elementary School from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Often, two dozen or more young people and adults join the officers in friendly competition.
“Something like that takes away that barrier,” Martinez said. “It lets people know that police in uniform can be approachable.
“That’s a good thing about Carlton, having those opportunities to build relationships and trust.”