As many people across the country express distrust in police, local law enforcement officers say their mission never changes: They are here to protect and serve.
“The family's a little bit worried,” Idaho State Police recruit Trevor Freese said. “But overall I’ve been getting good feedback. Everybody's proud with what I’ve chosen to do.”
Despite recent outrage aimed at law enforcement in the US, agencies across the state of Idaho continue to see a huge interest from people wanting to stand on the front lines with the goal of having the honor to protect and serve the citizens of Idaho.
“I think if it doesn’t make you step back and reevaluate what you're doing, I think you're foolish,” ISP recruit Michael Kish said. “But it's really less than one percent of police officers across the nation that are really the bad apples. Unfortunately, the bad apple starts to give a bad name for the greater law enforcement community but really the people that I’ve seen, the people I’ve worked with aren't those bad apples and Idaho is a pretty solid law enforcement community.”
Despite an overall decline in interest over the past several years, Idaho State Police sees recruit applications by the hundreds. This week, officers are teaching the newest troopers-in-training how to master a proper pit maneuver.
“I looked for careers that were bigger than myself, where I could give back to the community and the state, and not just work for me and my family but really work for the greater good,” Kish said.
Major Sheldon Kelley overseas the ISP recruiting process, training new troopers. When they select their future officers, Kelley says they look for key character traits important to the agency: “Integrity, honesty, good work ethic.”
Before you jump to conclusions based on headlines, they ask you not to judge the entire family of law enforcement officers due to the actions of a few.
“Each person that we arrest for a crime is given due process and allowed a complete investigation and given their chance to go through the court of law, and I ask that they give those police officers involved in critical instances that same consideration,” Major Kelley said.
“Give us a chance,” Kish said. “Not every police officer out there thinks that they're above the law because they have a badge and a gun.”