Menu

Criminal Justice Career Panel

0 Comment

Criminal Justice Career Panel


Applause I love this campus, I love this college and the students here are largely what make it and there are five of my former students up here today and I will let them introduce themselves All of them have a variety of experience in criminal justice and interesting histories and they’re going to talk to you about their careers how they arrived where they are today what it’s like to be in their job and how you might best prepare yourself to get that job yourself someday if that’s what you’re interested in We’re going to start with John Schmerber who’s a commander at the Hillsboro police department Go ahead John I guess it’s my turn, if everybody can hear me, how’s everybody doing today? Alright? I travelled some distance I hear I want to talk to you guys a little bit about Western Oregon first and my experiences I was a student athlete when I was here I had the opportunity to play on the football team. Today it’s a much bigger football team than when I was here I don’t know that I could compete on this team. They’re at a division two level now We were at NIA level when I played but great football program One of the guys I played with is currently the head football coach here and they’re very successful. As Dr. Gibbons said, he was actually my counselor or guidance counselor, is that what…advisor. Academic advisor. He’s probably got a lot of stories when I was really younger…don’t want to share those but it was a great experience. I met a lot of my close friends today came as a result. You high school students, one thing I had the advantage of when I graduated from high school was I knew what I wanted to do and that’s unique to a lot of people because there’s a lot of kids today, including my own kids right now, that kind of have an idea but they just really don’t know. So hopefully I can, myself and the rest of the panel, can share some of our experiences and maybe push you in a direction of your interests and strive for this What I can tell you is Western Oregon is a great university It’s a great university. I still have contact with a lot of my classmates, some of the faculty here When I was going to school here, and I don’t think it’s changed much the classrooms are smaller. One of my biggest classes probably had forty kids in it Forty students in the class So there’s a lot of accountability, there’s a lot of responsibility, they’re going to push you for your education Right now it might not seem that that’s a big interest but as you become a junior and senior your grades count because it’s extremely competitive out there in the work force, and we’ll talk about that in a minute. Let’s talk about law enforcement, which some of you might be interested in. There’s all different kinds of public safety From corrections to parole and probation to the federal government The FBI and other organizations But I’m going to strictly talk about city policing a little bit and what my career has been like. My career is a direct result of my education I received here at Western Oregon I had the opportunity to get internships when I was here with the city of Seaside and the day before I graduated, the city of Seaside hired me as a police officer so I went through graduation hired as a police officer alread which is unique but without the opportunities I received here at Western Oregon from my sophomore year up through my senior year, that would have never occurred. So what’s it like being in a city? I worked Seaside for about a year and three months It’s a great opportunity for a 21 year old to be in a tourist town working Just got to be careful But it was a lot of fun, a lot of fun to get started I immediately came back to the academy when it was housed here at Western Oregon So clearly I knew a lot of people here when I came back. But then I moved to Hillsboro. And what you’ll find is if you want a career in law enforcement, everybody I’ve talked to pretty much, when they first started the first year to five years, I’ll tell you what, we would have done it for free it was so much fun. And it’s still fun, but we don’t work for free but that’s how we felt about the career when you’re first getting into it. So if you want that kind of excitement, that kind of inspiration a lot of it has to do with the leadership that’s there, but at the same time, it’s just a lot of fun and that’s the bottom line. I don’t care who you talk to, you ask them about their first three, four, five years, they’re going to tell you it was a lot of fun, can’t believe we got paid for it Of course after that, we realized that, and some of the parents and counselors were now understanding that , we’ve still got bills to pay so it’s nice to get that paycheck too. Well what are the opportunities? My career, I’ve had a lot of opportunities. I’m going to talk about…I’m going to kind of jump ahead. I’ve got some notes of specific things I want to cover When you look at opportunities, you look at your career path you can either go vertical, which is the path I chose or you can stay horizontal, and have as much success so measuring success depends on who you are and what you want. We have career police officers that are fantastic and we have people like myself, and others, that have climbed the ranks through supervision then management and then overall command One of my opportunities, I started in patrol I was there for a short time and spent a lot of time in gang enforcement so I worked about seven years of criminal street gangs and then came out of that because you can only stand those positions for so long and went into our street crimes unit where we did undercover operations, drugs and vice, etc and then investigations division as a detective and then started my promotion up. But what does that say? There’s a lot of variety and that was just me We have people in the organization that you’ll have opportunities to go into traffic enforcement, school resource positions. I was a member of our tactical team. There’s SWAT, there’s all kinds of opportunities in municipal cities with regards to law enforcement But it’s all going to depend on the size at the same time. Hillsboro’s the fourth largest city in the state of Oregon An average law enforcement agency, nationwide, are about a population of 25 cops in an agency So Oregon state police is a large agency. All the agencies around us in Hillsboro and Washington county typically are larger that we deal with There are a lot of opportunities and it depends on what you want and where you want to go work My recommendation is if you are going to get into the field of law enforcement, understand that, early on, make sure you’re taking the right courses, and I’d say here at Western Oregon Then set your path and then determine where you want to work and what areas you want to work in Little bit about pay and benefits for those who are interested in pay and benefits, which you should be. You’re not going to get rich being a cop. I’m just going to tell you that right now, you’re not going to get rich but you’ll be comfortable. You’ll have all the things that you want typically, you’ll be able to get the things you want and do the things that you want to do. It’s a noble profession, it’s a profession of service and service is a big deal. Service means there’s accountability and responsibility. so you have big shoulders, you’re willing to step up and take care of those things, it’s the right profession for you. It’s not a profession for everybody. So good pay, good benefits. Everybody talks about pers, and I’m sure you’ve seen in the news and the papers, everybody talks about pers and the reduction and so on. They’ll fix that, we’ll fix that. But at the same time, it’s still going to set you off later down the road When I first got hired, you’d never hear me talk about retirement That was so far in my future, I’d never even thought about it until I get to today and now retirement is kind of important to me and the agencies you work for will take care of that So what do you need to do to prepare yourself? What do you need to do to prepare yourself? What am I looking for when I hire people? I can tell you that we have about 14 or 15 Western Oregon graduates working for the city of Hillsboro police department I can tell you that, and if you go to another university that’s up to you, but when I see, and there’s a lot of guys like me out there when I see an applicant that has Western Oregon on the application, I get to take a second look at that I get to evaluate a little bit harder, a little bit closer because we may have 600 applicants come through for one position. The competition is stiff. I’m not the only one. Just like someone may graduate from U of O so they may see a U of O thing, it’s the same thing. Your qualifications and everything are going to put you ahead What I’m saying is, your education here at Western Oregon will definitely prepare you, regardless of who’s sitting in my chair, to get that job when you look at that. But as you’re going through here, and I’ve talked to Dr. Gibbons about this for about the last six, seven, eight years is communication. You have to know how to write You have to be able to speak clearly and you have to be able to speak in front of a large group If you’re not able to do that, it’s going to be very very difficult for you to be successful in the field of law enforcement, regardless of what field you’re going into. It’s my understanding that some components and programs are put into place Doug Ladd, a retired Oregon state trooper he was a lieutenant, we went to college together, he was my partner on this panel for some time We talked a lot with the program here in the criminal justice program and increased those standards because what we were finding is people were going into the field and couldn’t write a basic police report whether it’s punctuation, whether it’s misspelled words, what have you now granted we all have computers and there’s auto correct and all that, but as most of you found out when you send text messages at times, is that auto correct doesn’t always auto correct correctly so it gives you a different word You have to be able to proof read and prepare. Your reports and everything will not only go to your superiors, to your supervisors and up the chain of command, but to DA’s, attorneys and you’re viewed on how well you communicate because most people will never have face to face communication with you You’re viewed through your reports, you’re viewed through how well your investigations occur and how well you document that That’s how you prepare and Western has a great program to do that One thing, I get marijuana’s legal. Recreational marijuana and all that, I get it. Don’t do drugs. I’m telling you. It may be legal for any citizen but you’ll find that you won’t get hired if you’re using drugs, it’s against the rules. It’s against the rules, and I’m sure there’s every study out there that says it’s okay. Well I can find other studies that say no it doesn’t, it’s not okay Don’t commit crimes. Pretty simple, straightforward. Don’t commit crimes Understand that if you choose this field, which I hope you do you will compete against a lot of people If you look for cities and you look for…if you say you want to work in Washington county and I’ll specifically go with Washington county, the sheriff’s office is the largest law enforcement organization in Washington county then you’re in Hillsboro, then you’re in Beaverton, and if you just go with those three agencies because you want to work for a robust organization that has lots of opportunities and I’ll leave state police out of this, because they’re big and we got a trooper down there that’s going to really give you some good ideas and a lot of opportunities on their side but when you look at that, you’re going to compete against, if you just apply for three agencies you’re going to compete against about a thousand people if we’re looking to hire more, we’re going to compete there. So it’s really organizations competing for the best out there. We want the best and the brightest in our organizations and at times that’s difficult so put yourselves in a good position to get hired and you do that starting now. You do that starting now. And when you come to Western Oregon, and I say this tongue in cheek, kind of but try and avoid MIP’s. Please. They never look good when you’re going for internships and so on…and in preparing yourself So with that, I’m not going to preach on that Nor am I going to tell stories about myself or any my friends Give Western Oregon a good look and a good opportunity if you’re looking at criminal justice and a criminal justice program this is where you want to start. Dr. Gibbons has done a fabulous job, him and his staff have done a fabulous job with this program here Congratulations to them and good luck to everybody. Applause. Thank you Commander Schmerber, I appreciate it. We’re going to stick with the theme of law enforcement and go down to senior trooper Costanzo, Greg Constanzo with the Oregon state police. He’s going to talk a little bit about what it’s like to work for the state police and his career. Well first of all, good morning. My name is Greg Costanzo. I am a senior trooper with the Oregon state police. I’m stationed down in Medford I’ll cover a lot of the same things the Commander did but I do want to also recognize that I understand that I’m talking to students and parents out there. I’ve probably given a hundred talks or so but it’s never been quite as relative as it is today because now I have a student from North Medford, where’s my North Medford students here? Raise your hand Chrissy. I’ve actually, I have a student that is a junior at North Medford who is actually looking at colleges so I know what some of the parents actually are going through as you sit in the audience because I’ve been there myself just as soon as last week looking for colleges for my own kids to go to I’ll give you a little bit about my background, specifically with Western. I did graduate from North Medford High School and I was also very fortunate. I always knew what I wanted to do and I knew that I always wanted to be a police officer probably since I was about 14 years old and I understand that I’m blessed to do that because a lot of kids or young adults don’t know exactly what they want to do. I also knew that I wanted to serve my country in the military so I actually graduated high school with a scholarship and the scholarship from ROTC said that I could go to any state institution that had an ROTC program I had a good friend of mine named Jeff Crepo and we went to Southern Oregon University we visited U of O, we went to Oregon State, I went to Portland State, and then I actually came to Western It was not on my priority list, but I knew that it was something that I really wanted to look at and that’s where I met Dr. Gibbons. It was much smaller venue but it was in 1990 is when I met Dr. Gibbons and I can tell you he talked to me for probably about a half an hour and both my friend and I knew that it was the type of relationship that that’s where I wanted to go I can’t tell parents or students enough the family and community that is here at Western It felt like my home for four years I have always been a big advocate for Western Oregon University When I went through it was actually Western Oregon College It switched to be a university and it’s always felt like a home to me I think my average class size was about thirty or forty, like the commander said I think some classes were a little bit bigger But it was so unique to me that the professors would actually give us their home phone numbers back in 1990 we didn’t have cell phones but they gave us their home phone numbers and we would call them if we had problems They knew our first name, they knew our career path, they knew our activities. I think Dr. Gibbons heard many stories about me coming in from the field with my camouflage on and telling him why I couldn’t turn in a paper and he was always very accommodating. They knew us, and they knew us on an individual level and it was kind of interesting because I remember when I brought my parents up here for the first time to introduce my teachers it was like introducing them to my friends and my peers So I’ve been in law enforcement now for 22 years and it still feels a little bit like my home when I come back here As a matter of fact I’m actually a student right now finishing up my master’s degree here at Western Oregon University which I’ve been working on for the past two years and I’ll graduate at the end of March so I’m proud of that So it is a great place. What has it done for me? I will tell you that it has helped me immensely I went into the army as a lieutenant. I did serve four years in the 101st airborne and it did give me a foundational basis not only for law enforcement but for critical thinking and it taught me so many things outside of law enforcement that it’s hard to even convey but it did tell me that I always knew I wanted to continue my dream of being a law enforcement officer When I got out of the military I was a captain and I knew that I wanted to look at what type of law enforcement agency I would work for. I did all the research and I knew that I was wanting to be an Oregon state trooper So I did get hired to be an Oregon state trooper I went to the academy and I believe that the writing and the speaking and all the different things that Western put me a step above my peers I did go to the academy with three other Western graduates Since graduating the academy I’ve had a great time in my law enforcement career. I’ve…been stationed in Salem, I’ve been on SWAT, I have been on motorcycle unit I was really blessed, for 13 years I got to work with a narcotics detection dog down in Medford on I-5 I’ve worked narcotics, I am currently on the bomb team for the state police and I speak to many rotaries and many different venues like this and people always ask me, what is it like going to work? I tell people it’s almost indescribable but I will tell you working with the people, the men and women that I work with we will sacrifice anything for each other. It’s an amazing career I could not imagine doing anything else I personally could not sit in an office with a suit on so I need to be out in the environment, which I get to do every day. I have friends for the state police who are fish and game officers who get to drive around in big pick up trucks and enforce game violations in the woods. I have a good friend who’s a fisherman and his job with the state police is he drives up and down the rogue river on a jet boat I wouldn’t like that opportunity but he finds it pretty rewarding that he gets to go up and down the rogue river enforcing fishing regulations I have friends who are accident re-constructionists and their background are in mathematics and physics and they love figuring out how crashes work I could not imagine doing anything different Like the commander said, what do they pay me? Will you get rich? I don’t think you’ll get rich but I will tell you the new age of law enforcement…when I tell people what we make now, it kind of surprises them so I will tell you because I have nothing to…I’m a topped out senior trooper with a college degree and a bomb tech certificate so I make, my base pay is about 88,000 a year with overtime I make over 100,000 a year so that is to me good money. I work three days a week in the summer, four days a week in the winter and like I truly believe, I have fun every day I go to work Okay? Are there bad parts about it? Well, if you read in the news, the law enforcement has taken a hit a little bit if you read and you watch TV, it has. Okay? Do we have some work to do? Probably. But the men and women I work with are absolutely unbelievable. I’ll spend just a little bit of time on females here, because I see a lot of females out there I personally work with five female troopers who are some of the best police officers that I’ve ever worked with So do not think that you’re limited in the field of law enforcement specifically with the state police I went to school with a female bomb technician and she’s a bomb technician in Washington DC right now There are females on our MRT team, there are female sergeants and they do a wonderful job so the career path is open to everybody and I will tell you it hasn’t always been like that so it is an amazing opportunity in closing, I will tell you that I also have four children one of my daughters’ good friends is sitting in the front row here I’m hugely involved in my family. Actually I was Chrissy’s soccer coach for a couple years The state police and law enforcement now as a whole, most agencies I know I know Hillsboro, I know Portland PD, being involved in the community and your family is a huge thing now with us and it’s almost encouraged to the point where most people I know, that I work with, are involved in their community as far as coaching, and teaching, and doing different things Anything else you want me to cover? GIBBONS: Where’d you meet your wife? Well my generation of police officers, we did meet a lot of our wives here at Western because they teach, she’s a teacher so a lot of…in 1990 the police academy was here and the teaching school so a lot of police officers are married to teachers My wife is a teacher, I’ve been married 22 years I can’t tell you enough though how much this does feel like a home to me I researched getting my master’s degree, I went to Arizona State University, I went to some online courses and then I did meet Dr. Terry Gingerich who’s, I believe, a 25 year LA county retired deputy sheriff and it’s something that I can’t tell you but it was like coming home to me when I did my degree and it still feels like I’m actually coming home when I see Dr. Gibbons even today For parents, the investment you will make, which I knew is big you are sending your child to a great place to get started if they have the passion to do criminal justice, this is the only place that I personally know of that I would tell my own kids to go back without even a question So I’ll turn it over to Dr. Gibbons. Thanks Greg. Applause. I don’t want to make it a theme necessarily but John where did you meet your wife? I met my wife here at Western and we were in the weight room early reporting for athletes She was a softball player? Yeah she was a volleyball softball player and frankly she reminds me often that there’s only one collegiate all conference athlete in the house and it wasn’t me. She studied business, not teaching and she went on to have a fabulous career and be very successful in what she did Thanks. Well we’ll stick with law enforcement and one more person, Kent Zwicker represents federal law enforcement He’s a chief investigator…I can never get it right. He’s with the Social Security Administration though I’ll let him introduce his title. Kent Zwicker Good morning. My grandfather was a state police officer back when the state police was a baby agency. Guess what kind of degree he had to get that job He didn’t. You needed to be a big male to qualify as a state police trooper back then So that sort of sets up my inspiration going forward that at a real young age I wanted to go into law enforcement I never knew my grandfather. He passed of health issues before I was even born. But I heard the stories and he kind of lived on through my grandmother So that was my inspiration. Also my dad came to this school He wanted to be a teacher and a basketball coach so he played basketball for Western Oregon I frankly just wasn’t talented enough to make the team here or I probably would’ve done it. I did a lot of research like what you’re doing now. What you’re doing is smart I looked around. I actually grew up in Corvallis and I worked at Oregon State starting in high school So that was the natural place for me to go. I lived near the school, most of my friends went to Oregon State, I actually got enrolled at Oregon State and one day I thought I need to really do my research better and I started looking around I came down to Western Oregon and I made my decision and enrolled the first day I showed up on campus Totally different atmosphere and I’m not going to bash other schools but a lot of schools you’re not even taught by the professor your first couple of years As many of your parents can tell you. You’ll have an intern or a grad student that’s teaching a class that’s about as big as what this room is as opposed to the 25 or 30 students in a classroom with a personal interaction and it’s true about the home phone numbers, now it’s the cell phone numbers, but you have ready and easy access to your instructors So a little bit, just real quick, about me, my background. I was a state police trooper, I achieved my goal. I was a cadet at first. They don’t do that as much now as they used to. It’s a little dangerous. We didn’t have guns. Wearing a uniform but we didn’t have guns. We would patrol the state parks. I did the marine enforcement where I drove around in a 21 foot jet sled around different water ways up in Douglas county Did fish and wildlife enforcement over out of Heppner, Oregon for two different hunting seasons. Then I got picked up as a state police trooper. When people talk about how much fun it is, I would have done it for free. I put in a lot of hours that I didn’t get paid for but it was fun. And who doesn’t like to drive fast once and a while, right? So that was a great job for me, I did that. I was a trooper for a while, regular uniform, out driving around writing tickets, responding to calls Then I was thinking I was going to go into fish and wildlife because that’s a pretty neat career. Then somebody called me up and told me about a detectives job that was open and I was like alright, I could give that a try, I like to kind of dig in to things a little bit. So I became, I think at the time, I was the youngest detective on the state police So I was a detective for a few years. Bounced around different investigative assignments and then I got promoted and then at the time I think I was the youngest state police sergeant, like a detective sergeant. So I did that for several years. Covered basically the entire state doing a variety of things. We do have the accident reconstructionists, crime analysts, we have all the stuff from the TV shows at the state police But I worked a lot with different federal agencies and even as I had gone through my career I didn’t realize the scope of the federal government but it’s huge and there’s so many opportunities out there They’re constantly hiring and I frankly didn’t have any idea until I started working with some of them So my current job is, I’m a special agent team leader and it’s for the office of the inspector general for Social Security So you think of the FBI as the sort of general federal police department There are dozens and dozens of other federal agencies that are more specialized agencies So I work a lot with…I work with the FBI but I work with a lot of other agencies. That’s why I didn’t wear a tie today, it’s like you’re all going to think I’m FBI if I show up with a tie. As an example, there’s office of commerce special agents, there’s ones that work for the small business administration, there’s agriculture special agents, so it’s become a highly specialized field in the federal government So I got approached. I wasn’t looking for a job, I love the state police but I got to know them and they approached me and offered me a great opportunity and frankly a heck of a lot better pay to switch over so I’ve been with the feds now for about 13 years. I run a task force group of 8 people Our job is to go out and basically investigate where people are scamming our disability system People who are scamming federal welfare or social security disability benefits I didn’t think I was going to do that when I showed up at Western Oregon as a student but it’s what I did. Most of the topics that I had in mind to cover have been covered but the education part is critical now. It didn’t used to be. But we on the federal level are very very picky You got to get your degree and then I would encourage you to keep on learning I finished up at Western Oregon, got on with the state police, and then decided I’m just average. I got the job which was great but what if I want more. And so I went back to school and got my masters degree And just never stopped learning. At some point you kind of get burned out on it, which I did after my masters degree but always keep learning and keep advancing, that’s how you get ahead and that’s when you get what you want. The other thing I can’t state enough because I’ve done things at other universities, schools and what not, but Western is really unique in that the teachers really do get to know you and they get to know your girlfriend or your spouse and they stay in touch So the original, before Dr. Gibbons was here, I’ve had recent contact, a couple years ago I think I had contact with him. I stay in touch with the school and they stay in touch with me and we’ve got together outside of work time just to stay in touch and stay in communication, and that’s what benefits the current students here because they have contacts like us out there to help you find your internships and find your jobs. I’ve hosted a number of interns from Western Oregon at my work and as part of giving back to the school Then I’m a resource for them and they’re a resource for me. As an example of something, I was back in DC for a national thing, and they were contemplating, and it’s a little complicated but going into some interesting policy decisions on officer safety issues and how many people participate in interrogations and things like that and back in DC I picked up the phone, got ahold of Dr. Gibbons and was like hey I’m not sure where we need to go with this national policy issue and he said let me think about it, let me talk with the rest of the staff and within real short order he said I got a student that I think would be perfect to research this for you. Shortly thereafter I get a student going to Western Oregon who that was what, I think she got 15 credits, I think it was a full term of credit worth of studying this national issue So Western Oregon is I think recognized on a very large scale as being the premiere law enforcement college to go to The only other thing that I think didn’t get brought up, and as far as living smart, doing the right thing, and I didn’t meet my wife here so I’m kind of a stand out I met my wife in high school. I drug her along But the thing that I think you need to caution, every time we hire people, and it includes interns and even admin support, is we do a heck of a lot of research and background information and that always includes social networking. Be very very careful with the social networking. My operation, for me, I have a whole bunch of undercover identities out online. Dating sites, Facebook, things like that. It doesn’t matter what you do, if it’s got your name on it and you’re saying something that’s a little weird or inappropriate, that’s going to follow you. It doesn’t go away. Some of you may have heard of the way back machine where it can go back and get historical web things. It never goes away. It’s always out there. So be very very careful what you post and what you text. I’ll leave it at that. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks Kent. No applause for Kent? Applause. All right, thank you. We’ll move on now to corrections. And we’ll start with correctional officer Phil Sauer who’s at Oregon State Correctional Institute. Good afternoon. What can I say? These guys have said everything so it’s going to be difficult for me but I’ll try. Go ahead and sit back and relax and enjoy. My story’s a little different. I actually grew up in Monmouth. Right over here, the ITC building, the computer networking building over here was my grade school So it campus elementary. I went to school here on campus with college kids. Went to high school and I was just an average student in high school. Didn’t care about it, the times were different And against my parents wishes, after high school, I didn’t go into college. I decided to start a family and then went into the Army. Once I got out of the Army, I was a single dad of two little girls. When I got out, my parents again asked me, what are you going to do? I said, I have no idea, I’ve got some friends who’s invited me to go to Guam And they said, we’ll call you right back. They said here’s the deal Why don’t you come home, go to school, and you can live at the house and we’ll help you with the children I said…great So I came to Western Oregon. It was a state college also. Signed up, had military…and I met Dr. Gibbons I don’t know what Dr. Gibbons saw in me but he took me under his wing and literally guided my path to where I am today. He offered me, I think it was my junior year, an internship and I helped develop and implement a process of intake testing that they still do today up at the intake center for the prisons What that does is…they test all the male and female inmates coming into the system They give them a personality inventory, psychological testing, drug and alcohol, abuse They go through their whole background, they find out all kinds of things about them so they can figure out how to plan and put them into the right prison, the right program for their successful rehabilitation I did start working with the department of corrections after that I started as a release counselor, as a temp hire, release counseling. So when they were getting out I was doing their planning, I was sending them to parole and probation, I was buying them housing, getting them subsidy for their successful rehabilitation and parole. From there I went into a full time job into recreation at OSCI and there I would do programming, their sports, so that they would learn pro social behavior, learn how to actually become a good citizen and interact with each other From there I went into security and I became an officer I’ve stayed at an officer level. Like he said, I had a chance to go vertical but you’ll find out that seniority means a lot I stayed horizontal because where I was at in my seniority level, I was making great money and if I was to go up I would be at the bottom of the list and I decided against that. It wasn’t until probably 15 years in my career that I met up with Dr. Gibbons again. He came in with a tour of students and I talked to them and it wasn’t until then that I realized, my god it was him that put me on this path, this career path. GIBBONS: My fault. SAUER: It was his fault and I thank him for it He helped me out, he was my advisor, he went through when I said what classes do I need, he told me the classes I needed After I turned in my first paper, he told me I needed to take more writing classes We didn’t have the computers back then. We had…I forget what they’re called…word processor, which was a typewriter. Typewriter for you younger people, okay. I learned how to write a paper, how to write a report. I learned how to tell a story, and that’s what I ended up doing in my career was being able to express what I saw, express what I did to somebody who wasn’t there That is important. So I cannot express enough to people out here, if you’re thinking about coming to Western, I am the perfect person to tell you that they have a great writing program here The classes were small, like we talked about They’re one on on with you They assign the work that you can do, they check the work, they help you with the work, and you get through. They treat you like someone who’s learning and not some cattle alright? As long as I’ve been with OSCI, I’ve done just a myriad of things I’ve been involved in training, I’ve trained younger staff on how to do things properly I’ve also, I belong to the crisis negotiations team. So I deal with a hostage situation or crisis situation Everything I’ve done I owe it to Western Oregon Let me just say this is a great little college. I’ve been here my whole life. I still live in Monmouth. I have season tickets to our football games Everyone laughs at me because they all have Ducks and Beavers but I said you know what, Ducks and Beavers are nothing compared to the Wolves Let me tell you, if you want to see people, these guys are going to play football why? Because they don’t have some big shot looking at them They’re not on TV so they’re out there to play football and it’s football, let me tell you. It’s awesome I implore you guys to think hard about coming to Western if you’re thinking about a correctional or any kind of criminal justice career It is the nation’s probably top school in that Other colleges do offer it but I can tell you from the department of corrections standard, we have other prison systems, we have the Minnesota prison system asking us and they’re revamping the way they do corrections We have…Michigan, they’re coming to us, seeing the way that we do our prisons and they’re revamping their prison style So what we’re doing, it’s an exciting time right now, things are changing You guys are going to be coming to college with a new president so…it’s going to be great for you. I can tell you right now, this is the school to go to if you’re thinking about…you’re not going to be hidden, you’re going to be the person…they’re going to find you, they’re going to nurture you, they’re going to treat you and they’re going to give you the direct path that you need. Like I said, I owe this guy a big thank you. I don’t know why, I have no idea why but he keeps calling me back here And here I am. But I hope to see you guys working for the DOC. We’re hiring We hire all the time because people retire and these guys go out there and catch the criminals and bring them to us We’re going to always have those people so…I’ll see you in a few years. Applause. Oh and I met my wife in prison so… Well thank you Phil. Well, last but not least, we have Jack Basey who’s a probation and parole officer of Polk county Thank you Dr. Gibbons I am the supervisor of Polk county parole and probation and Monmouth is in Polk county so this is my home turf here. I am a WOU alumni and Dr. Gibbons was also my advisor way back in the day I see him periodically because he sends us interns. If you’re going to get into the parole and probation world, that is one of the best places to kind of get your foot in the door is…it’s like your degree is a ticket to get on the bus but you’re going to find that there’s only so many seats on the bus. If you want to get into most departments you will need to have some form of experience any of the law enforcement, corrections, there could be a lot of different ways that you could find your way into the parole and probation world but the internship is really one of the best ways Dr. Gibbons asked me to kind of talk about my history. My wife and I came here as kind of second career people. I was a commercial fisherman and a commercial diver for 19 years My wife and I were going to do a career change. We came up, we looked all around Oregon at the different universities, physically went to the towns and we chose Monmouth because we still had children in school and this was just a great place to live. We just felt kind of homey so we actually sold everything and moved here My wife is a school teacher Actually I was going to be a schoolteacher I’d already done some practicum, pieces of that and I though oh I’ll do that I took a class here at Western, an elective class, parole and probation with John Tuthill who was the director of Linn county community corrections at the time I just hit it off with him and he kind of challenged me Actually my..I had a distant cousin that worked for him, he was a senior person on his staff and he encouraged me and I thought, you know I could probably do that, I’m going to do something. So I arranged to do an interview and kind of check out an internship here with Marty Silbernagel who was the director of community corrections here at Polk county We just hit it off and frankly I went there, and Dr. Gibbons again kind of tracked along with me, it was my last part before I got my degree. I did an internship at community corrections There were no positions opening back in those days. there was not much turn over and staff I did my internship, I actually did a little bit of volunteering in between, I was working on some graduate coursework here at Western at the time Eventually there came an opening for an uncertified probation assistant So here I am, a second career guy, pushing 40 and I’m the junior guy collecting urine samples and doing everything like that. But what was interesting was it actually worked out because it meant that I began to learn the business from the bottom up. LIterally. So…as finally there was an opening and I was able, because of the fact that I was a known quantity, I worked hard…I was really focused on what we were doing and I was beginning to learn the parts and pieces We keep hearing repeatedly, writing skills. I’m a field training officer. So new PO’s that come to my department are going to go through, besides going to the DPST, the police academy to get their certification They’re going to be going through an extensive field training process and writing is just very very important because I’m like a schoolteacher. The reports that are written to the court are very very critical, they’re going to be on the stand, they’re going to be scrutinized by the defense, they need to be water tight. Frankly when people…if you write good reports, it keep you off the stand. Your reports, your probation violation reports, are frankly, if they’re well written and they’re compelling and they make sense, they stand for themselves and you don’t end up with…on the stand for 20 minutes trying to defend what your recommendation is. So that is very very important If I was going to…one of the requests here was just what are we looking for if you want to get into the adult parole and probation world My boss, the director, is also over juvenile community corrections. I would tell you that we just flew a juvenile PO1 job this week. And we just hired a PO2 experience certified position last week. So I mean, openings do come up If I could reach out there and create a really highly qualified applicant, I would say somebody, well everybody keeps saying Western but you know what, frankly half the people in my office came through Western When I look around in the corrections world and in the police world, this is kind of the gold standard. If you’re going to be around here, this definitely is the place to come through. It means something. I would encourage you, it’s already been covered, stay out of trouble. We do backgrounds. You’re going to be making decisions about other peoples lives and there is a standard for that. So be serious about that. Believe me, if you’re in trouble it eventually will come out and it’s going to be a problem for employment Second thing is pay attention to your studies. Learn to write well, it will save me a lot of work if I hire you. Other things, the adult parole and probation world now is not just trail them, nail them, and jail them This is a very…this discipline has changed in my career time. It used to be, let’s throw the bad guys in jail and we’ll do that as often and as long as we can. What we found out was that it filled the jails up but it didn’t really modify the behavior much. Really that’s what it’s about. It boils down to dollar and cents, too. There’s only so much money and time to incarcerate people therefore we’re really interested in what does it take to encourage, help, and support people to make changes in their lives so that they get out of the criminal justice system so they don’t end up committing new crimes I’m wearing a tie today. I’m wearing a tie because I wear a tie every day. That’s the supervisors uniform at my office. Two hours ago I was teaching a cognitive behavioral class to 20 people in a room people that were on supervision, that’s one of the things that we do. You will be teaching, counseling. Just some basic counseling. You’re going to be talking to people with a whole lot of life problems often. Frankly if you do not have the ability to communicate with people, to empathize at some level with them, to understand them, they don’t listen to you, they don’t get it. So I’m looking for people that are somewhat emotionally mature, write well, be able to communicate and overall it’s a great job. We get weekends off, generally holidays off, we don’t work at night except I get called out at night occasionally. You can live a regular kind of a life here being a parole and probation officer, either adult or juvenile. It’s been a wonderful career for me. There are definite benefits. It pays…okay, kind of like a school teacher kind of pay, at that level right there. Police and fire. We’re police and fire retirement in pers which means I’m eligible to retire, believe it or not, I’m a young feller but I’m actually at that age where I’m eligible to retire. So those are just things to consider. Try to find your…Western is a great place that facilitates internships for the parole and probation. Yamhill county does it, Polk county does it, Marion county does it Those are places essentially, if you want to get your foot in a door, that’s a really great place to do that Does that cover it? GIBBONS: Yes that was great Applause. Well we generally have a little bit of time for questions but I think we’re running overtime a little bit today so unfortunately we probably can’t do that Although I will be around and many of the other panelists will be around Don’t leave. Rob has some information for you. If you do have any questions and also there’s the information table for our department up in the career fair If you need, if you want to talk to any of the panelists I could give you their emails, I assume, if that’s alright with you. and some of them will be around and you can ask some questions later but thank you so much for your attention and have a great rest of your day and I hope to see you next year in class, that’d be great. Applause.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *