Off to the academy

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Corey Wood, the newest deputy with the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, poses next to the department’s sign inside the office. Wood begins his training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy today.

Chris Taylor and Corey Wood have a lot in common.

Both have served in the United States Marine Corps. Both have previously worked in the Webster County Jail as correctional officers. Both were recently hired as law enforcement officers in Webster County.

And today, both will begin attending the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston so they can become fully-trained law enforcement officers.

Wood was hired on July 3 as the newest deputy with the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.

A Marine Corps reservist, Wood said it’s been a lifelong dream of his to go into law enforcement.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Deputy Corey Wood, of the Webster County Sheriff’s Department, looks over information on a squad vehicle computer as Deputy April Murray looks on. Wood is the newest member of the Sheriff’s Department.

“I’ve always been into law enforcement ever since I was a kid,” he said. “Just (the) hope of giving back and helping. It’s something that’s always been on my mind.”

Taylor was hired on Aug. 13 as the newest patrol officer with the Fort Dodge Police Department.

His experience includes serving in the Marine Corps and working as a correctional officer at both the Webster County Jail and Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.

Taylor has always dreamed of becoming a law enforcement officer.

He joined the Fort Dodge/Webster County Reserves in February and when the Fort Dodge Police Department announced it was hiring, he decided to apply.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Chris Taylor, the newest Fort Dodge police officer, poses in front of the department’s logo in the Webster County Law Enforcement Center. Taylor starts his training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy today.

“I’m just kind of going back to originally what I had planned for myself, back when I was 20,” he said. “I’m just going to make my career here.”

Both officers have an interesting connection in that they had previously worked in the Webster County Jail.

Wood said there are differences between the two.

“Upstairs you’re more taking care of them, whereas down here you’re actually out arresting them and having to worry about the different precautions and things that can happen,” he said. “Upstairs, it’s more of a controlled environment, whereas in town, it’s not so much.”

But Taylor said he believes his experience in the jail will be beneficial to him.

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Officer Chris Taylor, right, of the Fort Dodge Police Department, does some work on a computer as Sgt. Steve Hanson watches. Taylor is the newest member of the Fort Dodge Police Department.

“I think it’s a good starting point for somebody that wants to get into law enforcement because you’re dealing with the same people the police officers are dealing with,” he said.

Time spent working with inmates, especially those who he may deal with out on patrol, can have its advantages.

“Going from a jailer’s aspect to a patrol officer, you’ll have that rapport with them,” Taylor said.

Since neither Taylor nor Wood has been through the academy yet, they haven’t gone on patrol on their own, but both have been working with their new colleagues regularly.

“Right now, I’ve been going on a lot of patrol time, riding along with officers, getting to know the patrol aspect,” Taylor said.

His first week, he spent time working with the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

For the most part, Taylor said he’s been learning about “the whole logistical side of law enforcement.”

Wood has had a similar experience.

“I’ve been doing ride-alongs,” he said. “I’ve got to go on a few calls here, go over the computer systems, how to write tickets, learn a little bit about the radar and speed.”

He’s also learned how to respond to different types of calls.

“It’s going good,” Wood said. “I’ve learned quite a bit.”

With the pair starting the academy today, both said they are looking forward to learning different skills and tactics to help them become officers.

“Getting a chance to actually get a grasp on what I’m supposed to be doing in the sense of learning different laws and what I can and can’t do,” Wood said. “I’m kind of really excited about doing the tactical driving classes and the ranges, but moreso just getting a better grasp on my job.”

Taylor said he’s also looking forward to tactical driving and the range, but he also said it may be an opportunity to gain new friendships as well.

“Just maybe getting to meet new people from other departments,” he said. “Create new friendships and things like that.”

He added that he’s looking forward to “learning as much as I can while I’m at the academy.”

What are the two new officers hoping to take away from the academy?

For Wood, it’s “the confidence that I know I can do my job well.”

And Taylor said he wants to learn as much as he can.

“I want to graduate from the academy and, when I start my field training, just being able to gain all the information I can to be able to perform my job as a patrol officer to the best of my ability.”

Wood and Taylor’s academy lasts from today through Dec. 14. Upon their graduation, the two will then start field training with their respective departments.