Langley Police back at full force

After being short two officers for almost two months, the Langley Police Department is hiring some help.

Langley’s two newest police officers, Randy Heston and Ben Kokjer, were sworn in Wednesday at the Langley’s City Council meeting, doubling the the size of the current two-officer force.

Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg said once Heston and Kokjer complete 19 weeks of study at the police academy in Burien, they will begin supervised training in Langley with Herzberg and Officer Leif Haugen. Once the academy and training are completed, the two could be out on solo patrol by June.

“You’re not allowed to work by yourself unless you’ve demonstrated your abilities,” Herzberg said, explaining why the new officers will not be working full time on their own for some months.

Both Heston and Kokjer were interviewed by Herzberg after taking written tests through the city. After a panel interview, the number of applicants for the two officer jobs were whittled the down to three. Applicants for the jobs also had to complete civil service and physical fitness testing.

According to Herzberg, Heston and Kokjer excelled in the reading and comprehensive tests.

At Wednesday’s swearing in, Heston said he looks forward working full time with the city. He spent 22 years stationed at NAS Whidbey, and recently finished his career as a chief petty officer reserve with the Navy.

Heston became an Island County Sheriff’s reserve in 1990, and then became a Langley reserve officer in 1997.

“You haven’t seen me a lot because I was deployed a lot,” said Heston.

Herzberg said Heston will be a valuable asset to Langley because of his knowledge of the area and his experience.

“We are pleased to offer him employment,” he said.

Kokjer comes to Langley as a recent graduate of Central Washington University, where he obtained his law and justice degree. He worked for three years as a reserve for the Ellensburg Police Department.

“Since then I’ve decided I really like a small department,” said Kokjer. “The town of Langley has a lot to offer and I have a lot to offer the town of Langley.”

Herzberg said Kokjer was on his radar because he had previously applied to the department during another round of hiring and tested into the top three.

“I just think he’s really sharp and I look forward to getting him to know our community” said Herzberg.

Heston and Kokjer replace Ryan Raulerson and Laura Price, who both resigned and taken new positions in September. Langley’s new officers will begin studies at the police academy on Dec. 3.

Raulerson, who had been with Langley for 10 years, left to work in the city of Issaquah. Price remains on Whidbey Island as an Island County Sheriff’s deputy. Herzberg and Haugen will continue to work overtime with the reserve officers until Heston and Kokjer become full-time employees.

Both officers will start at approximately $18 an hour.

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