Douglas Paul, the city of Menominee’s newest police officer, hit the streets this week for the start of his 17-week field training program. All officers with the department must complete the course which includes getting to know the city, the ordinances and the people. Paul will be teamed with veteran officers throughout his training. <br> EagleHerald/ Mike Desotell
Douglas Paul, the city of Menominee’s newest police officer, hit the streets this week for the start of his 17-week field training program. All officers with the department must complete the course which includes getting to know the city, the ordinances and the people. Paul will be teamed with veteran officers throughout his training.
EagleHerald/ Mike Desotell
MENOMINEE - A new police officer is serving and protecting the citizens of Menominee. Douglas Paul, 23, started on the job just this week.

A 2012 graduate of Lake Superior State College in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Paul is currently undergoing a mandatory 17-week field training program with the department.

"I get to shadow other officers and sponge up as much information as I can from them," he said.

While new to the job, this isn't the first ride in a cop car for the Ingalls native. Before coming to Menominee, he interned with the Michigan State Police and did ride-alongs with the Department of Natural Resources.

Quite often a career in law enforcement is something that is a family tradition but Paul is the first member of his family to wear a badge.

"Honestly, it's just what I've always wanted to do," he said. "I just couldn't see myself doing anything else."

His inspiration came from knowing a couple police officers while growing up. They helped point him in the right direction. Because of that, he attended college and the police academy, graduating this past summer with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement.

Paul said one of his biggest supporters along the way was his martial arts instructor of 12 years. Fair warning to all, Paul holds a third-degree black belt in karate.

Physical fitness and teamwork have long been part of Paul's way of life. While attending Stephenson High School he competed on the football and track teams all four years and currently enjoys lifting weights and cross training.

You can only imagine there must be a bit of pent-up adrenaline for the young officer during his first week of training. He's mostly been lifting pencils to do paperwork and sitting next to another officer driving around town getting to know the area and the ordinances.

Being from here there's a very good chance Paul will eventually pull over someone he knows.

"I'm sure that's going to happen. I can probably guarantee it," he said with a grin. "It might do me a little harm knowing people from the area but that's part of the job and that's how it has to go."

As his training progresses, Paul will gradually take on more responsibilities before being sent out on his own. To him being a police officer is more than a paycheck, it's a career and one he plans on making the most of for a very long time.

"I'll be in law enforcement forever, until I retire," he said.

Police Chief Brett Botbyl was very impressed with Paul and said his department was fortunate he was available when they needed him.

"Knowing the officers he (Paul) rode with, contacting them and what they had to say about him, his maturity level and his work ethic helped him rise to the top over the other candidates."

In addition to the chief, the department has one detective/lieutenant, three sergeants, eight officers and one officer assigned to the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team. Paul will not be included in final staff number until after he completes his training.

Botbyl has already informed the city council that he will be requesting one more officer in the next fiscal budget which begins in July.