The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety has three new public safety officers, all of whom are looking forward to being able to play two roles in the department — police officer and firefighter, after they graduated Friday from the Windsor Police Academy.
The two-hour long ceremony took place this past weekend in the academy auditorium and kicked off with the entrance of the graduates in uniform accompanied by bagpipes and the presentation of the colors by the Santa Rosa Police Department Color Guard.
Following the entrance ceremony, Lanny Brown, Academy coordinator, welcomed the audience and went through the day’s program, which included remarks from a keynote speaker and awards for various academy accomplishments such as “most physically fit,” “top gun” and “top academic achievement,” as well as Rotary awards, according to Chief of Public Safety, Brian Masterson.
Not all recruits have a department where they are going to be working in public safety. Lined up after graduation, however, Jordan Hatch, 24, Justin Brown, 25, and Daniel Rosso, 29, have all decided to start their career in Rohnert Park.
Hatch said as a public safety officer he is most looking forward to working both as a police officer and as a firefighter, a unique aspect about the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department, with Concord being the only other town with a combined fire and police department.
“I am really excited to be able to do both jobs as a police officer and a firefighter. It’s two completely different ways to serve the community and it will just help make the City of Rohnert Park a better place,” Hatch said.
As for Brown, he is excited about working with and getting to know the local community.
“I’m looking forward to working with the community and feeling like I have an impact in something and doing something for the greater good,” Brown explained.
For Rosso, who was a trained EMT and paramedic who worked in San Francisco before taking the public safety position, echoed Hatch’s thoughts, saying that the aspect of working in both fire and police appealed to him.
Hatch, who grew up in Antioch, said he was originally pursuing a career in solely firefighting, however the idea of being a police officer started growing on him.
Brown had a much more significant change in career paths as be started out studying business at Sonoma State University, but then changed to pursue a criminal justice degree.
“I changed to go into probation but then I realized that law enforcement was kind of tugging at me and ended up going to the police academy,” Brown said of his drastic change in studies.
While the accomplishment and celebration of graduating is still fresh — with Hatch saying,” it feels great to know that the three of us have all passed and done well,” the graduates have to put their nose to the grindstone again, starting with orientation and later an intensive firefighter class program.
According to Masterson the orientation, which is run by Sgt. Jerrod Marshall, is to get the new officers familiar with the building and their equipment.
“It’s really to help them figure out and understand what the department has, what resources we have, making sure they have all their safety equipment and go over weaponless defense tactics to make sure they are properly trained and ready to go,” Masterson explained of the orientation process.
After orientation the officers will get assigned a field training officer and will begin training patrol shifts, where afterwards they have to go through a 14-week training program signed off by the sergeant and Masterson and later have to go through a whole other round of classes at a fire academy.
“It is a long arduous journey,” Masterson said of the whole academy and training process in becoming a police officer.
When asked how proud Masterson is of the new officers, he said, “These guys have done really well, because we monitor them in the academy, I expect they’re going to be in the top 10 of their class. These are really good officers and we are excited for them.”
After police academy and now with the prospect of two years of more training and orientation, the trio of new officers said they’re looking forward to working with each other and to become a tight-knit group with other fellow officers.
“Justin is very social, very caring and he’s very reliable as well. I feel like I can rely on him for anything and Daniel is a genius, I know he scored extremely well academically and he’s a good friend,” Hatch said of his colleagues, who will all be going through the new journey of learning to protect their community.