An oath to serve
WORTHINGTON -- It's official. There's a new peace officer in town. Standing in front of City Clerk Janice Oberloh Friday morning, Robby Vargas raised his right hand and swore an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Worthington, officially be...
WORTHINGTON -- It's official. There's a new peace officer in town.
Standing in front of City Clerk Janice Oberloh Friday morning, Robby Vargas raised his right hand and swore an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Worthington, officially becoming a member of the Worthington Police Department.
Vargas was chosen over more than 50 applicants who had applied for the open patrol officer position, 38 of whom came to Worthington to take a written take required by the department.
"(Vargas) has been a member of our police reserves for the past two years," said Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey. "We're happy to have him on board."
Not that Vargas will simply be handed the keys to a car and told to go fight crime. Even after a 2-year law enforcement program and skills training, he has a bit more learning to do first.
"He will put in about 400 hours getting trained in," said Worthington Police Sgt. Tim Gaul, who is a field training officer. "He will spend time on all shifts and with all the special units. He'll spend time everywhere from dispatch to records, learning the way our individual department runs."
The radios, the computer systems and interaction with district courts -- these are just some of the things Vargas with learn in the field training program. He will be graded on his progress each and every day, Gaul said.
"There is a lot of testing by the field training officers and a lot of time and effort invested," Worthington Police Captain Chris Dybevick stated. "We really want them to succeed."
Vargas, a Worthington native and a graduate of the Worthington High School, graduated from the Minnesota West Law Enforcement Program (LEP) in 2009. He was then employed with the Nobles County Integration Collaborative as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow, working with students in all six of the participating school districts on civic engagements and student success.
According to Cumiskey, there are four local law enforcement officers that work with the Minnesota West LEP, and so far six or seven people hired between city and county law enforcement have some kind of tie to the program as a student.
"It is really nice because we get to see them under pressure," said Gaul, who is one of the Minnesota West instructors. "We have spent hundreds of hours with them personally."
Vargas said he remembers wanting to be a police officer "back when (Worthington) had blue squad cars," which was at least a decade ago, according to Cumiskey.
"I wanted to help people and give back to the community, but I also wanted to work in a career where things changed every day," Vargas explained.
Vargas is the son of Roberto and Barb Vargas of Worthington.