Corvallis Officer Combines Law Enforcement with Education

To those in the city of Corvallis, Oregon, Nick Hurley should be friendly and familiar face. The departments new second in command is now the captain of professional standards and support services after returning from a two-year absence of training police officers at the state police academy.

Hurley is 43 years old and an Oregon State University Alumni after graduating with a master of education. After graduation, he joined the police force where he has spent the last 14 years as an officer for the Corvallis Police Department.

“I grew up in a family of educators and teachers, so I always tell them that I am still in the education world. It’s just that my classroom is a little bit bigger,” Hurley told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “But I always wanted to have a positive impact on my community. And whether you’re in education or law enforcement, it’s ultimately about creating that positive impact.”

Though most would assume that his law enforcement career started back in 2000 when he was a cadet at the police academy, it actually began a prior to that as a graduate student at OSU.

During his time as a graduate student at Oregon State, Hurley was earning his master of education and working as a resident assistant.

“While I was an RA, I really got that experience of living among your community and holding people and myself to standards that we all want to live by. And as a director, I’d have to work with Corvallis officers on student conduct.”

But it wasn’t until he took a ride-a-long with Jim Zessin, the man he would later replace as captain, that Hurley knew where he wanted to work and within a year he would join the Oregon Public Safety Academy. Shortly after graduation, he found himself back in Corvallis but this time as an officer.

From his first minute as an officer his anxiety melted away. “The first time I put on that badge I felt a pride like I had never felt before,” Hurley told the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Hurley would later take a break from his 14 years of patrolling the streets, offering his free counseling to the people of Corvallis, to feed the need in him to educate people. It was his own form of mental health therapy. It was at this time that he started working for Department of Public Safety Standards and Training where he would be educating police officers.

At the academy is where he found a new love of law enforcement and education because able to combined the two at work. It was in this realm that he excelled and quickly found himself promoted to captain. And with his new job came a new outlook.

“We talk about that shift toward using emotional intelligence and being a guardian and I couldn’t help but think, ‘Corvallis is already doing this,’” he said to the Gazette-Times. “We’re here because the people are employing us to be police. We are doing what the people have employed us to do.”

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