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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2011

New Toledo police officers start field training

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
New Officer Jamie Brown, right, inspects a damaged vehicle in an alley with Officer Amy Herrick, his field training officer. New Officer Jamie Brown, right, inspects a damaged vehicle in an alley with Officer Amy Herrick, his field training officer.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The second day on the job and Officer Jamie Brown was already being quizzed.

"What park is that?" Officer Amy Herrick asked as she drove by Inez Nash Park Tuesday.

Officer Brown, 37, was drilled on streets, observances, parks, protocol, computers, and reports. He is one of 30 new Toledo police officers who graduated from the Toledo Police Academy on April 12. As of Monday the new officers were suiting up, adding strength to the force.

They're the first class to be added to the department in five years.

Officer Herrick, a 17-year member of the department, is Officer Brown's field training officer.

He will ride with her every day for the first and last month of his four-month probationary period. The middle two months will be spent with other officers.

In that four months, he and the department's other new additions have to learn 52 tasks -- which sometimes have five subtasks (which also can have subtasks).

Once an officer is ready to "own" a task, it is checked off the list.

"There are some tasks we don't want to check, like, 'late for roll call,' " Officer Herrick said, laughing. "Because that means he performed that task."

The officers started their shifts in roll call -- a briefing of anything major from the previous shift and what to look for in the eight hours ahead.

From there, it was on to the cruisers -- Officers Brown and Herrick were assigned to Unit 417 -- for the vehicle inspection.

Officer Herrick guided Officer Brown through the computer log-in process, making sure he knew where everything is in the automobile.

"How do you turn your radio on?" Officer Herrick asked.

Officer Jamie Brown, left, accompanies Officer Amy Herrick on patrol downtown. Officer Brown is one of 30 new graduates of the Toledo Police Academy. Officer Jamie Brown, left, accompanies Officer Amy Herrick on patrol downtown. Officer Brown is one of 30 new graduates of the Toledo Police Academy.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The first call was to Park Inn, 101 North Summit St., to relieve the day shift officers.

The Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested Everett Tripodis, out of Atlanta with 20 active arrest warrants.

The day shift officers took Tripodis to the Lucas County jail; Officers Herrick and Brown waited for the tow truck to pick up Tripodis' red Ford Edge -- it was a rental, not stolen.

While they waited for the tow, Officer Brown was quizzed further.

"I always thought it would be a good idea," Officer Brown said of joining the police department. He's the first in his family to take up the line of work. His family is proud, though a little scared, he said.

Later, the two officers cruised around town while Officer Herrick pointed out places known for drug and gang activity.

"The feeling is good, but it's not all there yet," Officer Brown said of being on the road. "It's good, but it's still very different for me."

About midway through the shift, the officers were back in the Safety Building to fill out a "found property" report about a plastic bottle full of syringes they picked up from a woman who found it in her yard.

"Let's see how well you do -- let's see if you can do it," Officer Herrick said, giving Officer Brown a blank incident report to fill out.

"In the academy they give you a scenario and you get to absorb it, but now everything is happening in front of you and you've got to write it down," Officer Brown said while filling out a blue property tag. "There isn't someone else to ask."

Officer Brown is in step one of a four-step process. He's expected to observe and learn from the senior officer. He and other new officers are being trained to operate as one-officer units in case they're ever on solo patrol.

Once he's at step four during the last month of training, he'll be expected to do all of the work -- Officer Herrick will be along for the ride and to assist if a dangerous situation arises.

"Don't get complacent, because bad things happen [when you do]," Officer Brown said, recalling it as the best advice he's been given.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.



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