For many, the notion of homeland security starts in our hometowns and cities with the women and men who protect us each day. When Richard Herbe was preparing to graduate from Notre Dame High School in Lawrence a few years back, he thought he might like to join the military. As a student pilot with the civil air patrol, he felt comfortable with military customs and courtesies. But after giving it some serious consideration, he decided instead to pursue law enforcement.
Rich graduated from Mercer County Community College with an associate's degree in criminal justice and then took the civil service exam, a required test for anyone who is thinking about a job as a police officer. "You sign up for an exam a year in advance and then take the test," says Rich. "It took about three years after I took the civil service exam for me to get hired and go to the police academy. I spent that three years getting as much work experience related to law enforcement as possible."
Rich was eventually hired by the police force in Ewing Township, where he has lived his entire life, and began the intense five-month training at the Mercer County Police Academy at Mercer County Community College. He graduated from the academy in June, 2007. "The academy training focuses you on what it takes to do the job," says Rich. "You get all those ideals out of your head and it shows you the right way of doing things. Being a police officer is not all about traffic stops and pulling people over. You go through lots of scenarios."
Rich says his job has been interesting and exciting so far because he never knows what to expect from one day to the next. "I've got an open mind and plan to go wherever my career takes me," he says. If you want to be a police officer, Rich has three important tips: