Officer Sam Stinnett, who was hired on at the John Day Police Department in July 2018, completed 16 weeks of intensive training at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards training in Salem.
He was among 40 graduating Jan. 18 at the academy as members of the Basic Police Class 384.
Before he joined the JDPD, Stinnett was a corrections deputy for four-and-a-half years at the Grant County Jail in Canyon City.
He said family members who are in law enforcement inspired him to join the force.
“I kept talking to them, and they kept encouraging me,” Stinnett said. “Working at the jail, I saw police officers all the time.”
He said John Day Police Chief Mike Durr and Officer Scott Moore invited him to join their department.
Stinnett, son of Charlie and Laurie Stinnett of John Day, was a 2005 graduate of Grant Union High School where he was a state-qualifying wrestler.
One memorable part of training for Stinnett was practicing real-life scenarios in a fabricated town.
“It was pretty impressive that they have an entire village with houses, a bar and shops,” he said. “They hire on role players who can give you realistic types of scenarios to work with to kind of get your feet wet.”
He said it helps them see what it’s like in the real world, but the instructor is there to step in if they get stumped.
He joins Durr, Moore and Officer Andrew Martin at the department.
Stinnett said, although he’s lived in John Day his entire life, he didn’t get to know everyone in the community — now he has that opportunity.
“The main thing is getting to help people with problems and finding lawbreakers,” he said, adding he enjoys the people he works with at the department.
Durr said, after Stinnett rides along with Moore for another week or two, “he’ll be well on his own.”
“We’re looking forward to getting him out on the street so people can meet him,” Durr said. “He did well in the academy — and did well scholastically — and we’re proud to have him.”