Printable Version - Introducing Ferguson Township’s newest police officers

December 27, 2017

The Ferguson Township Police Department (FTPD) has welcomed two new officers to its ranks.

Lauren Neely and Skyler Ososkie both graduated from the police academy at the Harrisburg Area Community College on November 29 and took the oath of office December 4 at a swearing in by Magisterial District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker.

Raised in Altoona, Officer Neely earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from West Virginia University. Before joining the FTPD, she worked as a line officer with the Blair County Probation Office and as a deputy with the Blair County Sheriff’s Office. She is the first member of her family to go into law enforcement.Officer Neely is currently serving in the National Guard.

A native of Bellefonte, Officer Ososkie earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Liberty University and worked as a security officer at Mt. Nittany Medical Center. His father was a police officer for 33 years, so law enforcement is in his bloodline, he said.

Both completed 754 hours of training at the police academy from July 5 through graduation. The physical portion included
a lot of circuit training such as push-ups, running and mountain climbing, as well as team building exercises. “We had to
be on our A-game,” Officer Ososkie said.

Equally as important, their training focused on defensive tactics that can save lives – stills that include empathy, listening
to people in emotional crisis, and de-escalation. “We heard ‘deescalate’ and ‘empathy’ over and over again,”

Officer Neely said. “It’s important to learn how to talk to people.”

“Community policing is not just about enforcing the law,” Officer Ososkie said, “It’s bringing the human side to each interaction.” Both said they were aware that the Ferguson Township Police Department is highly recognized for its dedication to community policing and has a strong presence in the community. “They’ve made the bar very high,” Officer Neely said. “As the newest officers, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Added Officer Ososkie, “The onus is on us to continue this department’s tradition.”

“It’s important for people to know they can talk to us like normal people,” Officer Neely said, “and to feel free to come to us for help.” “We especially want school children to know we’re here to help and we’re their friends,” Officer Ososkie said. “We also need to minimize this great divide between police and the public.”

Both new officers have begun their Field Training Program, during which they will ride with experienced police officers to learn policy and procedures. The officers will be able to apply the knowledge they learned in the academy to actual events.  They will complete their training program in approximately five months.

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