Police officer Jordan Kay helps new officers find their place on the force
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of a five-part series examining the lives of law enforcement and emergency responders in the Pocatello/Chubbuck area. Read Part 1 on a school resource officer here. Read Part 2 on volunteer firefighters here. Read Part 3 on a 911 dispatcher here. Read Part 4 on a wildland firefighter here.
CHUBBUCK — Jordan Kay has wanted to be a police officer since childhood, back when he and his mother would watch “COPS.”
He remembers running errands around Pocatello, sitting in the backseat looking for officers making traffic stops so he could allow himself to be entranced by the flashing blue and red lights. Now, as his five children wave goodbye to him in the morning, he flashes the blue and reds from his own cruiser to satisfy that same fancy in them.
Kay, 26, joined the Chubbuck Police Department in 2018 — on May 14, 2018, to be exact. That date has special meaning for Kay. It’s the date he realized the dream he’d had since he was a youngster, sitting on the couch with his mother.
“It was a really exciting time for me,” he said. “I had wanted to get into law enforcement for a while so that date kinda sticks with me.”
The first few weeks, he said, were full of nervous energy. But eventually, he was able to tamp down the excitement.
“Once you’ve been doing it for a little while, you become more comfortable with (being) uncomfortable,” he explained.
Less than one year ago, Kay took on the role of Field Training Officer, which allows him to help other new officers get comfortable in their own roles.
While he remains in the patrol division and carries out those duties on a daily basis, Kay is now the officer responsible for welcoming new hires to the force and showing them the ropes. The training goes beyond POST — Peace Officer Standards and Training — classes. Each police agency has its own ways and means, he explained, and through a new officer’s first 56 shifts, the department’s FTO will be there with them every step of the way, showing them how things are done in Chubbuck.
Chubbuck Police Chief Bill Guiberson thinks that Kay, despite his being young on the force himself, is a perfect fit for the duties, because he is “mature beyond his years.”
“We try to look for that in all our officers,” Guiberson said. “We look for people that have got a good head on their shoulders and have a certain level of maturity, and he’s one of those.”
Along the way, Kay is happy to pass along tricks of the trade he has developed and learned himself.
“It feels good, it’s cool,” he said. “It’s especially cool because, if you work the same shift as them, you get to see them out there being their own officer. You get to enjoy watching them succeed.”
Watching his fellow officers succeed, whether he trained them or not, feeds into what Kay says is one of the best things about the job — the camaraderie. While most officers would likely call their agency a brotherhood, Kay believes Chubbuck PD, a small force policing a smaller metro area, creates a special bond between its officers.
And policing this area, in particular, is special to the Pocatello native.
“This is my stomping grounds, this is where I grew up,” he said. “I want to make sure that everybody here is safe and enjoying the community.”
Having the opportunity to police one’s own childhood home is something Guiberson acknowledges as special, especially given the tight-knit community that is Chubbuck.
“The easiest way to equate that is to say that they’re invested, they’re invested in the community,” the police chief said. “These are the neighborhoods that they grew up in, the parks that they played in as kids.”
Kay loves to be out in the community, which is why he has no immediate interest in leaving patrol. Sure, he’d like to be promoted to a supervisor role, that is the goal in the long run. But for now, he takes great pleasure in being out and about town, helping his neighbors and making friends with the people he serves and protects.
“I like being out in the community and meeting new people — seeing new faces, communicating with people. We’re not out to get everybody, I like to make friends with a lot of people, too,” Kay said. “I like to meet more people on positive notes than negative.”