Integrity, hard work and honesty are an important set of the core values that guide the Baker City Police Department (BCPD) and its newest employee, 26-year-old Officer Sara Jury.
On June 29, I had an opportunity to sit down with Officer Jury, her field-training officer, and an Administrative Sergeant to ask about Jury’s training at the police academy, her field training and her future goals in law enforcement.
Originally from Baker City, Oregon, Officer Jury knew she wanted to become a police officer during her senior year in high school. However, instead of going straight into the police academy after graduation, she chose to enlist in the US Marine Corps and serve in the military police for five years.
After completing her last tour of duty in the Marine Corps, Officer Jury decided to enter the police academy in Salem, Oregon. However, before she entered the academy, her parents bought her donuts to help celebrate the news that she wanted to become a police officer. After all, some people see cops and donuts being as traditional in America as Oreo cookies and a glass of cold milk.
During her 16 weeks of training at the police academy, Officer Jury really enjoyed her defensive emergency vehicle operations training. This class teaches police recruits how to push a patrol car to its maximum endurance, and learn its capabilities, like trying to slide around wide open corners at 80 miles per hour. As a result, police officers have to know how to handle high-speed pursuits.
Another aspect of training Officer Jury enjoyed was her weapons qualification class, where police recruits learn how to fire and maintain the Glock 40 or Glock 45 semi-automatic pistol and other various weapons that officers are required to know. For Officer Jury, learning how to drive fast and shoot straight was as exciting as anything else was.
The most challenging class for Officer Jury was learning how to interview a person, which is not an easy task, even for veteran police officers with decades of law enforcement experience. However, every police recruit has to learn the basics of gathering factual evidence from suspects to contribute to an investigation that will lead to an arrest and/or a conviction.
After graduating from the police academy on June 16, Officer Jury applied for an open position with the Baker City Police Department and had to wait one year before she was accepted. Baker City is a small town that traditionally has a low turnover of city employees, which includes police officers.
After hired by the BCPD, Officer Jury immediately began her field training in Baker City, which consists of five different phases. The first phase is orientation to the BCPD, which lasts about one week. It consists mostly of administrative work, being issued uniforms and equipment, and learning about other agencies and resources.
Phase 2 is where an officer trainee meets his or her first field-training officer (a veteran police officer) and is a “get to know you day”. The field-training officer (FTO) also introduces the officer trainee to a training guide model for officers who work at the BCPD. This phase lasts about five weeks.
Phase 3 is where an officer trainee meets his or her second FTO and assigned a different duty shift, if available. Various tasks assigned to the officer trainee and this phase lasts about five weeks.
Phase 4 is where an officer trainee meets his or her third and final FTO and is agian assigned a different duty shift, if available. Just like phase three in their training, a police recruit has various tasks to perform and this phase lasts about five weeks.
Phase 5 is where an officer trainee returns to his or her original FTO that was assigned during phase two. The purpose of this is so the original FTO can compare the officer trainee to when he or she first started their field training. During this phase, the FTO will only evaluate the officer trainee and not assist in any way. The FTO can also choose to wear civilian clothing while evaluating the officer trainee. This phase lasts about two weeks.
If an officer trainee successfully passes all five of the training phases, then he or she is signed off as a fully trained police officer. In addition, each phase of the field training eliminates the possibility of favoritism or biased opinions towards the officer trainee.
This is accomplished by having a different FTO assigned during each phase of the field training exercises instead of just assigning one FTO for all five of the training phases. At the time this story was written, Officer Jury was in her second week of field training at the BCPD.
The length of time to train a new officer trainee at the BCPD often varies with the individual trainee. However, according to an Administrative Sergeant at the BCPD, Officer Jury should complete her field training by October at the soonest.
When asked what her favorite Hollywood cop movie is of all time, Officer Jury immediately said Super Troopers. She enjoys watching the film because it always makes her laugh. When asked, one of the other officers who was at the interview said his favorite Hollywood cop movie was Dirty Harry.
As for her future goals and ambitions in law enforcement, Officer Jury would someday like to work for SWAT, which stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. The BCPD does not have its own SWAT team due to a lack of financial and personel resources. However, there are other law enforcement agencies in Eastern Oregon who can provide the BCPD with tactical SWAT assistance.
Such agencies include the Union County Tactical Team in La Grande, Oregon and the Oregon State Police regional troopers and command staff, including Oregon State Police SWAT team members from Springfield, Oregon (which is located outside of Eastern Oregon).
The BCPD has been in existence since the 1930’s when it first started with five police officers and one judge. In fact, the BCPD currently has a picture of those five officers and one judge posing in front of a camera in Baker City.
Today the BCPD currently has six male patrol officers and two female patrol officers, which include Officer Jury. The BCPD also has one chief of police, two male patrol sergeants, one male investigator, and one female investigator. Although the BCPD has a limited number of personnel, it successfully maintains law in order in a community of approximately 10,000 year-round residents.
The BCPD also strongly believes in its guiding mission, which is to work in partnership with its community members and actively promote their safety and welfare while enriching the quality of life through the delivery of professional police services.
With a strong commitment to solving criminal cases, protecting life and property, issuing citations, and enforcing the law for over 82 years, the BCPD has a legacy of excellence, which Officer Jury is very proud to be a part of in Baker City.
In addition, Officer Jury’s best advice for any woman who wants to become a police officer is simply don’t give up, which is a great motto for anyone who represents the professional trust and shield of upholding the law. Officer Jury is on the cutting edge of law enforcement in the 21st century and will no doubt have a bright future with the BCPD.