Katelyn Weaver, a sophomore at Corban University, had an opportunity to test her resolve to become a police officer when she rode along with Salem Police Officer Erik Ammon one night shift last week.
Did the experience shake her resolve? It did not. If anything, her night on Salem’s streets reinforced her career goal.
“I thought it was fantastic,” she said after it was all over. “I’d recommend it to anyone in the community. Every citizen ought to be able to see what goes on when it comes to the law and crime.” When they do experience this first-hand, they’ll come away with a fresh appreciation for what police officers do. “They can put their faith in the justice system,” she said.
Katelyn comes from a small town in Northwest Washington State, and she hopes one day to be hired as an officer with the Everett, Washington, Police Department. To that end, she is majoring in criminal justice at Corban. There are about four dozen students in the program which is only about six years old, she said.
Corban was one of the major sponsors of the Breakfast with the Chief, a February 2014 event benefiting the charitable efforts of the Salem Police Foundation. The foundation worked with the police department to arrange Katelyn’s ride-along in appreciation for Corban’s sponsorship.
Katelyn said Corban’s director of the criminal justice program asked her if she would like to take the offered ride-along, and she jumped at the chance. “There was a lot of stuff going on,” she said. “I was able to talk with Officer Ammon about his duties and what to expect on the job.”
Among those duties that night were:
• Picking up a nine-year-old kid who was stealing toys at Walmart and taking him home;
• Responding to a domestic violence call and taking a statement from the female victim; and
• Pulling over a driver who was found later during testing to be high on methamphetamines and heroin.
The highlight of the evening was a call to a trailer park where a homeless man was causing a disturbance. The man said he had just been released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. While talking with Officer Ammon, the man starting exhibiting signs of another heart attack. He may have been faking it, but EMTs were called, and they took him back to the hospital.
Katelyn purposely picked the night shift for her ride-along. “I wanted a time that would have the most action,” she said. She thought the night shift would be “more intense than the afternoon and more realistic for someone going into police work.”
The Salem Police Foundation’s goal is to “promote community support for the Salem Police Department.” Breakfast with the Chief raised about $35,000 for foundation efforts to purchase new investigative cameras and advanced trauma kits for the department.
Joining Corban as sponsors of the event were: Roth’s Fresh Markets (which served up a delicious breakfast); Withnell Motor Company; Bridgeway Recovery Services; Boldt Carlisle + Smith; Rich Duncan Construction; Grove Mueller & Swank; Landmark Professional Mortgage; Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance Foundation; Salem Business Journal; Salem Police Association; Les Schwab; U.S. Bank; 911 Supply; Aramark; AmeriTitle; A-Z Rentals; Capital Valuation Group; Nathan Levin Co.; Ed Penna Photography; Prudential Real Estate Professionals; Sherman Sherman Johnnie & Hoyt; John Ratzlaff, State Farm Insurance; Statesman Journal; and Sunco Homes.
The foundation has a committee already working on a breakfast event in February 2015.