Behind the Badge
Paul Quintro is coming up on two years of serving with the Keizer Police Department (KPD). His extended family moved from La Quinta, CA. around 12 years ago, but he and his wife stayed in California until 2016 when they moved to Salem.
When his wife became pregnant with their first child he put his dreams of becoming a police officer on hold to support his family. Though he graduated from the Sheriff’s academy, he was unable to find work as the local departments were going through layoffs.
Quintro was a stay-at-home dad for two years, during which time he took his son to Keizer Rapids Park everyday. The family bought their first home, in Keizer, right before a robbery at Pizza Hut in March 2018.
With all the commotion caused by the robbery, his wife discovered that the KPD was hiring. Quintro applied for the reserves and after a few weeks in the reserve academy he was offered a full time job. He quit his job as a lead for Nike to finally fulfill his dream.
Gang activity was a normal part of life where Quintro grew up. He strongly felt like no person should have to live under the threat of violence like he did, so he decided to become a police officer.
“I do this for my own personal reasons of wanting to help people, be it the bad times or the good times. And it was kind of interesting how we had both kind of simultaneously happening,” Quintro said.
While there were anti-police advocates, there was also an outpouring of support from the community, though he doesn’t put too much weight on the praise or negativity this job garners.
Due to the lack of regular gang violence, his goal of alleviating gang violence in communities has shifted since being hired at KPD. With that being said, he still has the same goal of bettering his community and helping people who have been victims of crimes.
“There are people that are going to praise you and people that don’t like you, but you can’t take it to heart. You have got to remember why you’re doing this job to begin with, and I do this job to help people,” Quintro said.