New DLPD officer is enjoying life in Detroit Lakes
He may have spent most of his life in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, but Detroit Lakes' newest police officer is finding small town life in northwest Minnesota is not so very different from where he grew up.
"Surprisingly, it's not that much different," says Chad Paddock, who started work as a patrolman with the Detroit Lakes Police Department on Sept. 4.
Small towns have a lot of the same issues as big ones -- drug use, burglary, domestic abuse, etc.
"There is more gang activity (in the Twin Cities)," he added.
One other difference he's found is a higher degree of cooperation, both between the different law enforcement agencies in Becker County, and within the community itself.
"Here, there's a huge partnership between the cities and different agencies... it's quite cooperative," he said, adding that he was surprised to learn that he would be deputized by the Becker County Sheriff's Department -- his first day on the job -- as well as being sworn in as a police officer.
"I also have county privileges," he said. "That allows me to assist in different areas of Becker County."
Cooperation between the different law enforcement agencies is particularly beneficial when people with a criminal history in one city might commit an offense in another, Paddock added.
"I like that we have such a close relationship with the sheriff's department, White Earth, Lake Park and other cities," he said. "I feel you have a better department when you have strong partnerships."
Growing up in Brooklyn Park, Paddock said he believes he was always destined for a career in law enforcement.
"This has been something I've wanted to do my whole life," he said. "It's always been in my nature to be involved in law enforcement.
"When I was a teenager, I became a Police Explorer with the Brooklyn Park Police Department, and I instantly was hooked," he said.
The volunteer community service program allows young people between the ages of 16 and 18 to experience first-hand what a career in law enforcement would be like.
"It's a chance for teenagers to learn what it's like to be a police officer from inside the department," he said.
The Police Explorers assist trained officers with traffic control during parades and other community events, do ride alongs on patrol -- and occasionally take part in more light hearted activities.
"I once dressed up as McGruff the Crime Dog for the kids at a community event," Paddock said with a smile.
After graduating from high school in Brooklyn Park, Paddock went on to get his degree in law enforcement at Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC), graduating in 2011.
After completing all his required coursework, he also went through the training program at the Law Enforcement Education Center in Brooklyn Park, where he learned about things like criminal investigation, legal process (case law pertaining to law enforcement), due process and preserving civil rights as well as skills training in such areas as traffic stops.
Though he had initially envisioned finding a job in law enforcement in or around his hometown, so far, Paddock and his family are enjoying life in Detroit Lakes very much.
"It's been a wonderful experience so far," he said. "We will eventually be buying a house in the community, and I look forward to spending my career here."
He also looks forward to taking his 3-year-old son on his first fishing trip.
"I enjoy fishing, though I still consider myself a beginner," he said. "I'm also a football fan, and a Minnesota team fan -- in any sport, I'm going to root for the Minnesota team first."
Sounds like he should fit right in here.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.