Frontlines | Working in law enforcement is the ‘childhood dream’ of a Penn Highlands police cadet | New


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Tyler Collins focused on his life’s purpose.

For Collins, 20, a choice of careers gnawed at him since he was a boy growing up in the borough of East Conemaugh.

“As a little kid it was either the army or the police,” he said. He chose law enforcement, calling it a “childhood dream.”

Collins graduated from Agora Cyber ​​Charter School and is a police academy cadet at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in Richland Township. Every day, you can find him in an East Conemaugh Borough patrol car with Sgt. James Schatz.

Collins wears a vest and uniform. He has no police badge or handgun and no authority to make arrests.

That will change once he graduates from the academy in August and is certified by the Municipal Police Education and Training Commission (MPOETC).

“We hire young men and women off the streets and pay for them to go to the police academy,” Schatz said. “Once graduated, MPOETC will reimburse 75% to the borough. (Rookies) must sign a contract to stay with the borough for two years.

East Conemaugh Police Chief Joseph Eckenrod hired officers through the Indiana University Police Academy graduate program in Pennsylvania, including Cody Schatz, the sergeant’s son.

It’s a way for the department to recruit police officers, Eckenrod said, “especially in these days when no one can become a police officer.”

Collins and James Schatz took to the streets at 7 a.m.

“We do the bus lines,” Collins said. “From this point on, you want to be seen driving around the community and interacting with people.”

It is community-oriented policing, he said.

Collins adjusts to using computer equipment in the patrol car.

“When I have a traffic stop, I have it on the computer,” Schatz said. “He punches the ticket and we’re good to go.”

The job is not for everyone.

“It all depends on the nature of the job,” Collins said. “You are dealing with people in their worst moments. If you can’t deal with it, it will mess you up a bit. That’s why it’s always good to have a fantastic supervisor.

No matter how difficult a situation, Collins said Keys remained calm and professional.

“You have to put yourself in their shoes to defuse the situation,” he said. “Just stay calm and speak calmly, no matter how much they shout.”

Part of training is learning when to stop someone, Schatz said.

“You don’t have to stop everybody or give everybody tickets,” Schatz said. “A warning – slow down, have a nice day.”

For Collins, his ambitions are high, but he is focused on the moment.

“Right now I want to focus on passing the academy, getting my badge and giving them two years,” he said.


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