Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
November 7, 2012     The New Era Paper
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November 7, 2012

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Page 10 1 l'P. r - November 7, 2012 SHPD's recruitment of veterans working out well By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Geoffrey Hamlin is the latest of three military veterans recently hired as police officers at Sweet Home Police Department. About three years ago the Sweet Home Police Department decided to make a concerted ef- fort to hire returning veterans to fill open positions within the agency, Police Chief Bob Burford said. "Results for the first effort were a bit disappointing because at the time, many veterans showing interest in the jobs were still de- ployed abroad and their discharge dates were too far away to meet the department's needs. "In addition, of those veterans immediately available, many lived in other parts of the. country and could not afford to participate in a hiring process that required mul- tiple trips for testing, interviews, psychological and medical, exami- nations, etc." But early this year when the department needed to fill an un- precedented four positions at once, it found highly qualified candidates ready and available, Burford said. "We found recently returned veter- ans for three of the four positions. We are absolutely confident in the skills and commitment of all four officers we eventually selected." Hamlin, who went to work on Aug. 1, had been laid off from the Josephine County Sheriff's Office. "I was trying to go to college and found that working three jobs was a bit much," Hamlin said, so he left Rogue River Community College and joined the Navy. His brother-in-law was a recruiter, and he signed up for the education and law enforcement experience. "I joined the Navy in April of 2004 as a master at arms," Hamlin said. "After completing my train- ing I was stationed at Naval Station Everett in Washington. While there I performed law enforcement and base security duties standard of all master at arms." He performed harbor patrol and bike patrol and was certified as a field training officer. He kvas deployed in 2007 to Camp Bucca, Iraq, on a one-year tour working in detainee opera- AIL. &verson ..... CerUfied Appraiser AucUeneer for 40 plus years! Member of International Society of Livestock Appraisers and American Society of Farm Equipment Appraisers My services don't cost, they pay! 541-967-7674 - Office or 541-928-7676 "The Real Deal" PRIMASING MOTORS * HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY * 21684191- 1400-225-4670 THE "Y" IN LEBANON Photo by Sean C .Morgan Recently hired veterans now working as Sweet Home police officers are, from left, David Hickcox, Matt Johnson and Geoffrey Hamlin. tions. He remained in the Navy Re- serves until March of 2010. In April 2009, he was hired to work corrections with Josephine County. In 2010 he was trans- ferred to the patrol division where he worked until he was laid off in May. He applied with SHPD after being forwarded an e-mail that was sent to Josephine County. Hamlin, 29, who grew up in Rogue River was interested in law enforcement early, entering the Ex- plorers program with the Oregon State Police in Medford at the age of 16, he said. "I like that every day is differ- ent. You never know. Being able to be outside and roam is nice, while knowing you're doing something productive and helping people out." SHPD has been great, Hamlin said. "It's a good group to work with. We're smaller. We're close." Mike E. Adams, a school board member who also sits on the city Planning Commission, currently serves as a JAG officer in the Or- egon National Guard. "I think it's a great thing for the Police Department to hire vet- erans," he said. "The culture be- tween law enforcement and the military is very similar. The veter- ans put their lives on the line for their country." The same thing goes for law enforcement, he said. The values are similar. "The Police Department should be commended for hiring veterans," Adams said. "I strongly encourage all em- ployers to take a look at these fine young men and women when mak- ing hiring decisions," Burford said. "They have already well demon- strated a commitment to purpose that will meet the needs of any employer but is especially applica- ble to law enforcement and public safety. They have risked all for our nation and the very least we can do is give them a chance to keep serv- ing." "It's nice that employers are willing to give veterans prefer- ence," Hamlin Said. "While not true in every case, employers that are willing to hire veterans are making an investment in an indi- vidual that has self-discipline and is highly trained. "It is not easy to excel in the military. In order to do so, you have to prove that you have self- discipline and are competent with the work you are assigned. The military places you in a position where lives depend on you. There is no room for juvenile behavior in the military. This experience should be brought forward into the civilian workforce. "I know several veterans that are highly trained in areas that don't always equate to civilian work. I have a good friend that spent several years as a gunner's mate in the Navy. His area of ex- pertise ranges from small firearms to large ship-mounted weapons. He has struggled to find a career in Or- egon. He is currently working six days a week to make sure his fam- ily is cared for. "I was once told by a poten- tial employer that he will not hire veterans returning from Iraq or Af- ghanistan for fear of PTSD. That itself is a stereotypical attitude, and in my opinion discrimination. "I wish more employers were willing to step up and hire veter- ans. Not only are you getting a high quality employee, but it's nice to know that we are appreciated for the sacrifices made during our time of service." Officer Matt Johnson joined the Marine Corps on July 24, 2007. He attended boot camp from that date until Oct. 18, 2007 and then attended the School of Infantry and was trained as an infantry anti-tank missileman. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, The Thun- dering Third. "I deployed in July of 2008 to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit to southeast Asia," Johnson said. "I trained with foreign mili- taries in Japan and the Philippines. I returned stateside in January of 2009. I deployed again in April of 2010 to Garmsir district, Helmand province, Afghanistan. "We conducted combat op- erations until we returned home in November. My unit succeeded in pushing Taliban out of our area of operations and developing a work- ing relationship with the locals." He was honorably discharged on July 23, 2011. He moved back to Oregon and attended one term at Oregon State University, studying industrial engineering. "I quickly discovered that a desk job no longer appealed to me and returned to my high school dream of becoming a police offi- cer," Johnson said. He applied with Sweet Home Police Department in November 2011 and started his ca- reer on Jan. 23, 2012. See Cops, page 11