By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the force, Bryce Bilharz.
The Charles City Police Department recently hired Bilharz as a full-time officer. He was officially sworn in this past Monday by Mayor Dean Andrews at a City Council meeting.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” said Bilharz.
Bilharz has plenty of law enforcement experience, considering he just turned 21 years old in May.
He worked for the West Union Police Department for about two years. He started out as a reserve officer and then was hired as a patrol officer in October 2016. He was promoted to Lieutenant in July.
The 2015 Nashua-Plainfield High School graduate said he had been wanting to apply at the Charles City Police Department for a couple of years to get closer to his hometown, but his age was a factor.
The minimum age required by the state of Iowa to become a police officer is 18, but local departments have their own guidelines.
“Twenty-one is the hiring requirement in Charles City,” Bilharz said.
Bilharz was also a reserve officer for the Nashua Police Department and also worked part time for the ambulance there. He is a nationally certified EMT (emergency medical technician).
“Just responding to calls and to see the different approaches of what law enforcement does on a call versus EMT — it just spiked my interest a little bit,” he said. “It’s just a different approach of helping people.”
Bilharz said he did a lot of training with Charles City police officers when he was a reserve officer in Nashua. He’d also sometimes run into CCPD officers while doing his training in West Union, which is about an hour east of Charles City in Fayette County.
“I actually came up here and did a ride-along,” said Bilharz. “I began to make some good friendships.”
His cousin, Brad Bilharz, is an investigator at the CCPD.
Bryce Bilharz was the second youngest member in his class when he graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston in April 2017.
“When I was younger, going through high school, I gained interest in law enforcement,” he said.
He said the call volume at the West Union Police Department is not as large as in Charles City.
“I’m looking forward to work in a more fast-paced department,” Bilharz said.
The larger community will also allow him the chance to take on several different roles as a uniformed police officer in Charles City. Bilharz said those roles on the job can be in different capacities such as referee, coach or mentor.
Bilharz attended Ellsworth Community College and Hawkeye Community College prior to becoming a police officer.
His first day on the job at the CCPD was Nov. 26. He is currently going through field training, where he has to freshen up on his knowledge of state and city codes, as well as learn how the Charles City Police Department operates.
“I was just looking forward to working for a structured department,” Bilharz said.