Police corps graduate come to work for Vail
Until she was a senior in college, Vail police officer Jenny Call never imagined she1d wear a badge.In fact, it wasn1t until a few months before she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado that the psychology and history student began thinking about joining the force.3I1d never really considered police work, says Call, 22. 3In the past, I thought policing was about people on power trips, but I1ve learned that you can help people out and be a big influence on the community.Call, a Denver-area native who once considered becoming a youth and family counselor, joined Vail1s police force in December. She has about two weeks left of 3shadowing another officer before she hits the streets on her own.3I love it. I1m having a great time, she says. 3Everyday you get to do something different. The job is so varied.Call is a snowboarder, not a skier, and she didn1t take the usual route<the police academy<in becoming a police officer. Call was a member of the first graduating class at the Colorado Police Corps, an accelerated, residential program that offers more intensive training than most police academy programs.Police academy can cost $2,000 to $5,000<plus living expenses. Police Corps students, however, don1t have to pay a cent to enroll and they get a small stipend for living expenses. But they do have to be hired by a police department before they start the corps and then make a four-year commitment.Call says she was lured to law enforcement by a trend known as 3community policing, a law enforcement policy in which officers are supposed to get more involved in the lives and businesses of the neighborhoods they patrol.Call says she1s looking forward to working with kids and families in Vail.3I want to reach out to people, Call says.Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger is a former director of the Colorado Police Corps. He says the police corps is designed to encourage college graduates who would not have otherwise thought about law enforcement to become police officers.The program is held at the Colorado State Patrol academy in Golden. The next class begins in July, so interested students who1ll have their bachelor1s degrees by May need to apply soon, Henninger says.Henninger says his new officer has hit the ground running.3Jenny comes to us very well trained and she1s doing a great job, Henninger says.Henninger also says he hopes the program will encourage more locals to think about a career in police work.3If there are people who think they might want to be police officers but their families are opposed, I1d be willing to have dinner with them and explain what we do, Henninger says. 3Maybe I can alleviate some of their fears and encourage the person to join.3I really would like to see more locals going into policing, he says.Call says it won1t be hard to stay in Vail for four years. When she puts away her snowboard for the summer, she looks for rocks to climb and trails to hike.3There are so many opportunities for me, she says.For more information on the Police Corps, call Henninger at 479-2210 or check the corps1 Web site at http://www.cdpsweb.state.co.us/policecorps.