Portage man takes aim at career, despite poor vision
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Saturday, 27 October 2012 07:21
PORTAGE - Doug Perez is a sharp-shooter. He also knows nearly every law enforcement radio code in the book, how many watts a Taser deploys and can use detective lingo like he has been on the force for years.
|Chief Deputy Eric Reynolds (left) Assists Doug Perez on the firing range at the Wood County Sheriffs Office. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The 21-year-old Portage resident is also visually impaired and has been since birth.
But his impairment has never stopped him even as he has carved out his own piece of history in becoming the first visually impaired person to ever complete the Wood County Sheriff's Office Citizen's Police Academy. He graduates on Thursday.
Perez's involvement with the academy is what he calls the "first step" in chasing his dream of working in law enforcement in some fashion. It's a deep rooted dream, dating back to his childhood.
"It just fits me well. I have the personality for it," Perez said. "I have that commanding voice if need be."
He also has the build for it with a height of over 6-feet and broad shoulders.
"I have always wanted to make a difference in the community."
Perez, who works at Wood Lane Industries, has been given his first taste of life in law enforcement through the academy.
The academy is a nine-week class that gives citizens an insider's prospective of the workings of the sheriff's office and all its divisions.
"He is pretty much able to do anything. He is like a regular student," said Deputy Jill Holland, who runs the Citizen's Police Academy.
"He wants to be in the middle of it all the time and he wants to learn every single possible thing he can learn," Holland said.
Throughout the academy, Perez learned about each of the divisions within the sheriff's department: communications, concealed carry, road patrol, detective bureau, internet crimes, the Justice Center and the Special Response Team.
The session with the Special Response Team included each citizen getting a chance to fire a weapon at the range.
With the assistance of an SRT officer from the Rossford Police Department, Perez was able to hit two of his shots at dead-center.
He was given the "top shooter" award for the class.
Perez attributes his sharp shooting to his grandfather who taught him to shoot years ago.
"I was just right on it," he said. "I started shooting and didn't stop until I was empty."
He also got to do a "ride along" with a deputy.
"That was really neat," Perez said. "We had a couple of traffic stops, a couple of suspicious vehicles and a follow-up at the ER. The rest of the time we spent in Grand Rapids."
He even got to click on the light bar during one traffic stop.
"The deputy told me we had pretty good teamwork," Perez said. "I told him if he ever needs a partner again to let me know."
Meanwhile, Perez keeps his two-way radio close by and scanners are a part of daily life.
There is a scanner in the living room, bathroom and one that Perez has above his head when he sleeps.
"I tell you I can multi-task. I can sleep and listen to the scanner," he said.
"If my mom is working, I'll call her and say there is a level 1 or level 2 emergency or the roads are getting slippery or you may want to take an alternative route," he said.
He also knows many of the deputies by the sound of their voices on the radio and knows exactly what is meant by a "Code 20" or a "Code 4."
"He tells me all of this stuff and I say, 'How do you know,'" said Doug's mom, Betty Perez.
Perez said his next step is to hopefully join the ranks of the sheriff's auxiliary.
"I want to see if I could get a job in law enforcement, but even if I am just in the auxiliary, I'll be happy," Perez said.
"His dream has always been to work for a law enforcement office, so this is just one step closer," his mother said.
"He is capable of doing so much," she said. "And I'll back him. If he wants to try something, I'll support him."