“When Metro Tech came to my high school, I didn’t know which program interested me. I took a survey that said law enforcement, so I enrolled. My plan was just to show up,” Jimmy said.
The high school athlete who played football, baseball and ran track said once in the Law Enforcement Program, he quickly discovered a passion that was fueled by his teacher, Chief Eastridge, and the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) officers involved in the program through a partnership between Metro Tech and OCPD. Early on in the program, a classroom visit from a K9 officer and a field trip to the Bureau of Narcotics created a light for him. An admitted dog lover, his goal became to one day be a K9 officer himself.
Jimmy’s educational path wasn’t without struggle. His mother and father were sentenced to prison his freshman year of high school, which forced a move in with his grandmother.
“My parents grew up hard and didn’t have an education or job skills. They loved us and did their best to provide; it made me realize I wanted to create a different future for myself. That and my grandma’s support motivated me to do better,” he said.
As Jimmy was nearing completion of the Metro Tech Law Enforcement Program, Sgt. Tomas Daugherty - OCPD cadet coordinator embedded in the program -introduced him to Chief Tarver with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Police Department (OUHSC) at a community event. Jimmy took the initiative to call and express interest in a job. After several interviews, he was hired as a security officer with full benefits.
Today, Jimmy works full-time at OUHSC and puts in time as an OCPD Cadet while awaiting his 21st birthday to apply to the OCPD Police Academy. His mother was released from prison earlier this year, works full-time, received her GED and moved into her own house. The look of pride shines as Jimmy says she’s better than he’s ever seen her.
The Metro Tech Law Enforcement Services Program gave him confidence he never had before, and he attributes that to his teachers and OCPD mentors.
“Chief Eastridge is one-of-a-kind. She cares about us and that kept me coming back to school. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to OCPD Chief Citty a few times in the program, and he is always interested in my perspective and thoughts. I’ve learned that you just can’t believe everything you see on the news, it’s been a very positive experience.”