Behind the badge: Officer Jennifer Starns

Starns has worked with the Keizer Police Department for over two years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in contemporary music, but then switched courses to become a veterinary technician. Though she loved being surprised with new challenges every day and helping animals, it wasn’t the job she wanted to retire out of.

After going on a few ride-alongs with a friend she fell in love with police work and has been pursuing it ever since.

“It was a little bit tough at first because I did not have a lot of experience,” Starns said. Even so, she has found her stride within the department.

Police work is often viewed as a “man’s” job but Starns doesn’t let that get under her skin. She said every officer brings different skills to the table and all of them are needed to have a well-rounded department.

“It’s not a guy’s job. There are physical requirements, like you have to be strong but you also have to be able to talk to people. That’s a huge part of it too,” Starns said.

She wanted to be a police officer because she desired to help people. Police often see people on their worst day and Starns’ goal is to relieve their suffering.

Police as a whole have come under fire because of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, but Starns said doesn’t let that discourage her.

“I just keep thinking about how great this place is to work. The majority of the public still really appreciates us and the Keizer community has showered us with love. They sent cards and goodies and more sweets than we could ever possibly eat,” Starns said.

The job has its hard moments, but Starns is grateful to be able to work in a time where so many American’s find themselves out of a job, even if it’s only paperwork. Starns has been on light duty since July due to a knee injury, but hopes to be back on the road soon.