Scott Bond was sworn in as Lodi's newest police officer on Thursday, bringing more change to a department that saw two officers retire earlier this week.
"It feels great," said Bond, who grew up in Stockton and graduated from Lincoln High School in 2001. "It takes a little while to hit you at first. It's such a long process between all the background checks, oral board interviews, psychological tests; it's such a long process. But to get to this point feels really good."
Bond, 29, said he'd always thought about becoming a police officer, but he started pursuing his dream after a ride-along with a friend who'd been hired by the Stockton Police Department.
"After my first ride-along, I knew it was what I wanted to do," he said.
Bond then started looking into becoming a police officer.
While working full time with Bay Alarm, Bond attended the San Joaquin Delta College Police Academy during nights and on weekends before graduating in September 2012.
"It was a pretty busy schedule for those nine months, but it paid off," he said.
Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms said Bond exhibited several qualities that set him apart from the other applicants.
"Integrity is one of the most important qualities, because we have to have people who are trustworthy," said Helms, who added that more than two dozen people applied for the position. "He'll do well."
During his time with Lodi officers, Bond said he has been impressed with the department's relationship with the community.
"Right off the bat, I noticed that the police department has a completely different relationship with the community than a lot of other surrounding and neighboring agencies," Bond said. "They work hand-in-hand with the community. That was the main thing that drew me to the department."
Bond will spend up to six months in field training, working with veteran officers and experiencing several beats and shifts. Once that process is complete, he'll begin working by himself.
Helms said it is rare for an applicant to pass the extensive background process required to be hired, but for several reasons, Bond was one of the few who made it through.
"We have very high standards as we recruit people to work here," Helms told Bond. "Most people don't rise to that standard. You did. We have those standards because we expect nothing but the best from the people who work here and who provide service to this community."
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.