DECATUR — Jaime Hagemeyer decided she wanted to be a police officer when she was in junior high school.
“I love law enforcement,” said Hagemeyer, 29, shortly after she was handed her badge by Todd Walker, chief of the Decatur Police Department. “I always wanted to be out in the field, not behind a desk.”
Hagemeyer stood alongside eight other new officers, as they were sworn in Thursday morning by City Clerk Celeste Harris.
Walker said he has high expectations for these officers, who range in age from 22 to 36, and have been carefully selected from the list of eligible applicants.
Eight of the recruits have roots in Central Illinois, with five listing Decatur as their hometown. The two women in the class have strong ties to the department.
“It’s nice to be able to tap into the local talent,” Walker said. “They will know the area.”
Along the way to landing her job, Hagemeyer studied criminal justice at two colleges, served as a Decatur police intern, spent 4½ years as a police auxiliary officer and worked as a store security officer.
Six years ago she married patrol officer Steve Hagemeyer, who she met during her 2004 college internship. A 14-year veteran who works the overnight shift, Steve was at the ceremony along with the couple’s 15-month-old son, Mason.
“I’m proud of her,” said Steve Hagemeyer, who was wearing a big smile, as were dozens of other family members who packed the city council chamber. “She worked hard for it. I’m sure she’ll enjoy it as much as I have.”
Katie Bohland’s father, the late Carl Carpenter, would have been especially proud to see her sworn in.
“My dad was a police officer for 30 years, before he died,” said Bohland, 26, who cannot remember ever wanting to do anything else but follow in his footsteps. “I grew up watching him and how much he loved his job.”
Carl Carpenter, whose final position was as a street crimes detective, died from cancer in January 2009, after serving 28 years with the Decatur Police Department. He previously worked as an officer in Taylorville.
Bohland said she was inspired by her father’s dedication to helping others.
“He enjoyed helping people out and being there for them in their darkest hour,” Bohland said. “I want to help people and give back to the community.”
A MacArthur High School graduate, Bohland also brings a wealth of education and experience to her new job. She graduated from Western Illinois University with two bachelor’s degrees, one in sociology, the other in law enforcement and justice administration. She also served an internship at the Decatur Police Department and served on the auxiliary police force. She worked as a police officer for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority for the past 2½ years.
K.C. Kohn, 36, another police auxiliary member, has been working as a conductor for Norfolk Southern Railroad. A Decatur native and Eisenhower High School graduate, Kohn earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical/ministry studies at Free Will Baptist Bible College, Nashville.
Kohn said he was always interested in police work, but serving on the auxiliary solidified his interest, especially because he made a lot of friends on the police force.
“The auxiliary is a great way to find out what police work is like,” Kohn said. “It is on-the-job training to the utmost degree.”
Sgt. Jim Getz of the department’s professional standards division said the nine new officers bring the department up to its full complement.
“Overall we got a good mix of youth, experience and age,” Getz said, adding that the department sets a priority of people with integrity and good character.