Sunday, January 11, 2009

A little bit about me.

Hey everybody! I'm Aaron Knepper, SBPD's newest Patrolman. I'll be updating this blog (probably weekly) with stories about what its like to be an officer in South Bend. Before that though I think its best if you knew a little bit about me.

I'm twenty one years old and was born in South Bend but not raised here. I was actually raised in a small town in Georgia but moved back to South Bend during my eighth grade year. I went to high school at Riley where I actually geared my studies towards the medical field (I had little interest in policing at the time). I was on the swim team and helped reestablished the Latin Club but other than that I kept pretty much to myself (mostly because I was so tired from swimming). During my senior year the School Resource Officer (Sgt. Brian Kendal) informed all the students of a new program that allowed students interested in law enforcement the opportunity to "get a foot in the door" with the SBPD. At this time I had actually lost interest in med school and had already applied to Indiana University - South Bend for their criminal justice program. I applied for the new Cadet Program and was hired in with Kelly Dulcet in March of 2006.

I began my work in the Records Bureau entering data for arrest records, running the sales window (selling reports, gun permits, etc.), and performing background checks. About five months after that I began working in the crime lab focusing on the audio/visual part; I processed all the crime scene photos for evidence and made copies of the in-car camera systems for the prosecutor's office as needed. I had filled this position as the previous crime lab personnel had moved to a new position with the FBI - I stayed in until a new person was found to fill the position.

I then spent four months on the midnight shift working the front desk to take reports over the phone as well as for citizens. After that I spent the rest of my time as a Cadet working as a fraud investigator where I gained a new respect for investigations. Its amazing how a strange opportunity can change your perspective on a certain aspect of your career.

I also spent days at a time working with SWAT, NEST, K9 and other units to assist in training officers. It was pretty fun getting to play the "bad guy" so our officers could improve their skills. Of course, getting the play the bad guy also taught me how some people may think or act when approached by police officers so I benefited quite a bit from each training session!

However, as I continued to near my December 2008 graduation from IUSB I began my hiring process to become a sworn Patrolman. The process involved the physical fitness assessment, a written examination, two sets of interviews, a background check, a polygraph (lie detector) examination, a psychological evaluation, and then approval of Indiana PERF board. I started the process in August and was subsequently sworn in on December 23rd - which was perfect because I was slated to go to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy from January 5th til April 17th. I also graduated from IUSB with a BS in Public Affairs and a BS in Criminal Justice with hopes to get a masters in a couple of years.

That's pretty much it as it comes to my policing background. I never came from a police family (although my grandfather was an officer, but he passed away before I was born) but feel like I always knew this is what I wanted to do. Looking back at it all the other careers I had thought about seem pretty boring - I've learned in nearly three years as a Cadet that this is my calling and we'll definitely see how the academy treats me!

I'll be updating every Monday night with the previous week's post starting on the 11th! Hope my stories keep you hooked and I hope that anyone with any questions or comments contact me at AKnepper@SouthBendIN.gov!