There’s a new face within the Lodi Police Department. Officer Jeffry Okey recently joined the force, now making the department operate at full capacity.
Okey is a recent graduate of Southwest Technical College and completed the preparatory law enforcement academy.
When searching for open positions, Okey said that everything in and around Lodi stood out.
“What stood out first about Lodi Police Department was the town,” Okey said. “After looking at it and seeing what there is to do around the area, I knew I wanted to live up there. As a hunter and fisherman, the lakes and the public land nearby is amazing.”
Then it came time for interviews. Even more stood out to Okey afterward.
“After my interviews with Lodi PD, the people stood out,” Okey said. “All my coworkers and the people of Lodi are extremely friendly.”
For the first time in Police Chief Wayne Smith’s tenure with the department — which began as interim chief in May 2019 — all positions are now full. Smith was named chief in September 2019.
“It’s rewarding to see all of the hard work my staff has put in to rebuilding this department pay off,” Smith said.
Before Okey, the department hired Lt. William Nichols in April to fill another pre-existing vacancy.
“It’s satisfying that we are now able to offer good training, good equipment, competitive pay and solid leadership,” Smith said. “We have a dedicated staff providing law enforcement to our community.”
In just a short time on the job, Okey has seemed to fit right in with the rest of the department.
“The first couple weeks are amazing,” Okey said. “This is my first time working as an officer and I’ve never had so much fun. The people I work with and meet are extremely nice and law-enforcement friendly. Everyone I have met so far has welcomed me into Lodi.”
Okey hopes that he can remain a fixture in the Lodi Police Department for the coming years.
“I hope to gain a long career of working at Lodi and in law enforcement,” Okey said. “I want to learn as much as I can from Lodi PD.”
Not only does he fill the final vacant position within the department, but Smith said that Okey brings a lot more with him. He said that Officer Okey is a quick study and is fitting in well, as everyone in the department has a part in training him.
“Officer Okey brings stability and continuity of service,” Smith said. “Our goal is to provide law enforcement services all the while allowing the safe and free movement of our citizens and visitors to Lodi.”
In addition to Okey, Smith also said he’d like to hire a few part-time officers in the near future, to help with any shortages that the department may experience.
“The future is bright in Lodi and we will continue to strive to make it the police department officers want to work at,” Smith said.