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New officer heads off to police academy

Published: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 11:16 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 11:32 a.m. CDT
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(Dave Hon/Daily News)
Zach Walker, the newest Newton Police Officer, will be patrolling the streets on Newton once he finishes his 14 weeks at the Police Academy.

There’s a new sheriff in town; well, actually an officer.

Zach Walker is the newest Newton transplant to don the Newton Police Department’s uniform. The Iowa State alumnus graduated in May with a major in history and minors in political science and criminal justice.

“I was going to be a high school teacher, and I started looking into law enforcement, and they don’t really care what your degree is in. They just like you to have a degree,” Zach said.

After doing some research, he added his criminal justice minor. He said he was interested in history as a major because that’s what he was always interested in while in high school. For his criminal justice minor, he had an internship with the Altoona Police Department.

“In college there’s a lot of essay writing,” Zach said. “The main thing I learned in college was to not be biased, which I think would help me as a police officer and stuff. You know, going into a situation and looking at both sides equally and not try and judge before you know what’s going on.”

As a history major, he said he wrote many reports and said that amount of writing will translate to the reports he will have to fill out as an officer.

Zach said he likes the time he’s spent in the community during his field training with Officer Chris Wing. After he’s finished his 14 weeks at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, he’ll be looking for a permanent residence in Newton.

“I haven’t been here too much,” he said. “My girlfriend’s parents actually grew up here. I’ve been to a couple of races and stuff but, other than coming through and seeing her family, I haven’t been here too much.”

When Zach applied, he started to learn more about the community through the application process and the officers. While job hunting, he said he wanted to stay in the Des Moines area.

“I liked it because I thought it was a hard-working community, so that’s what drew me to it,” Zach said. “It’s kind of a decent size with a small town feel.”

During his field training, Zach said he’ll be assigned some reading and then the next day he’ll be expected to demonstrate what he learned. For example, he’ll practice routine traffic stops. Zach said he’s excited to come back from the academy.

“(Wing) has high standards that he wants me to meet, so it’s been challenging but it’s been good,” Zach said. “I’m learning something everyday. Everyday it’s new things.”

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.

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