Newly hired police officer Catherine Hazell is enjoying the small-town feel of Ocean View.
“I love it,” the 27-year-old Morris County, N.J., native said.
“Every day is a new adventure. It’s exciting to solve problems. I’m still learning. I’m taking in everything,” she said, adding that she was not a little girl who dreamed of growing up to be in uniform.
“I would love to say I was, but no. When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I guess I thought it meant I could cuddle small animals all day,” she said with a laugh.
Previously, she was employed as a 911 dispatcher and emergency medical technician.
“I very much enjoy public service. I originally joined the volunteer fire department and found a niche I really liked. I was very interested in becoming a police officer. It’s a competitive job, so I started in dispatch as an EMT, but I had that goal,” she said. She learned of the Ocean View police officer position from a friend who lives in the area and found details on the Town’s website.
So far, she has been patrolling with another officer for 12-hour shifts, but she should begin soloing around mid-November.
At the Dover Police Department’s Municipal Academy, Hazell completed all required training and received the Academic Award for having the highest average on all exams among classmates, Police Chief Kenneth McLaughlin told Ocean View Town Council members in August, adding that she is an achiever and he is pleased to have her on the force.
“In the academy, everything is simulated, so somebody always had your back. As a police officer, safety is a concern. It is the nature of the job. But I trust myself and my training, and I have my co-workers and superiors, and I will have their backs as well,” she said.
When she started at the Ocean View Police Department, Hazell was surprised at the volume of work accomplished there, with 13 officers, including herself.
“It’s a lot for a small department. I am impressed with how much the police department handles. We get a wide variety of calls, so I get different learning experiences. I’m in Week 6 of field training, and I got to experience a lot so far. For the most part, it is what I expected, but there have been instances that have been unexpected,” she said.
“I like the small-town feel. Here, you get to be part of the community. That’s why I fell in love with the town when I came to interview here,” she said, praising fellow officers and McLaughlin, all of whom she said have been supportive and helpful.
“I knew this was where I wanted to work. I was over moon when I got the job.”