WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Officer Chloe Martin and Officer Oscar Licona are the West Lafayette Police Department's newest recruits, and they're both bringing new perspectives.
“It's a big step for our family,” said Licona. “I'll be the first police officer in our family so they're excited for me, as I'm excited for myself.”
Licona is a first-generation Mexican-American. He's now one of two bilingual West Lafayette police officers. He believes what he's bringing to the table is beneficial to the team.
“My background in the military and then my heritage in maybe being bilingual can help all the students here that have trouble communicating with police officers that are here,” said Licona.
Martin is also making waves, now becoming the youngest officer in the department. She's 22 years old and a recent graduate of Indiana University.
“A lot of people think that I'm even younger so then when I'm like, 'I'm a police officer,' they're like... are you?” said Martin.
Martin spent her college days in a cadet officer program. Already completing the police academy has helped equip her for this new position.
“The Academy was a lot of fun,” said Martin. “It was a lot of work, it was stressful at times and there were times when I was like, can I do this? But I just tried and kept my head up and got through it,” said Martin.
WLPD received nearly 60 applications. Licona and Martin are the only two who made it to the hiring process. Police Chief Troy Harris said getting to this point is far from easy.
“It starts with the physical agility test, the general aptitude test, oral interview, an interview with our merit commission a very thorough background and then rigorous testing down in Indianapolis,” said Harris.
Chief Harris said Licona and Martin are great additions to the department.
“They have a lot to add, they're very capable, they're very competent and we're certainly excited to get them started,” said Harris.
According to Chief Harris, less than 10-percent of WLPD applicants actually get hired. Licona will start the police academy within the next few weeks and Martin is set to begin field training at the West Lafayette Police Department.